December Landscape Maintenance Tips/Suggestions
Tis the season to be jolly… It is also the month to protect your plants and trees from frost damage. Please see below for some other useful landscape tips to follow in December.
When temperatures hit below freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit), frost damage can occur to a variety of trees and shrubs. Some varieties are ficus, jacaranda, palo brea, pygmy date palms, bougainvillea, lantana, small citrus, sissoo and thevatia. Smaller and newer planted trees and shrubs are also more susceptible to damage. We recommend you cover plants and trees with old blanks or sheets during the night only. If you are unable to use sheets, we recommend you use a frost protectant spray. This can be purchased at Moon Valley Nursery or any other nursery. Do not use plastic as this increases the change of frost damage. Be sure to water your plants, trees, and lawn during the frost. This boosts the humidity and helps minimize the damage from the cold.
Tree pruning – crown thinning, major access pruning, etc.
Pruning is done for 3 reasons; to balance top growth with root development, to remove damaged or undesirable growth, and to develop proper shape of the tree. When pruning, you want to make sure you use the proper equipment. Hand shears are good for branches up to a ½” diameter. Loppers are for medium-sized branches. A pruning saw is recommended for anything a lopper cannot handle. Shears are used for hedging. When pruning, make sure to remove crossing or competing limbs and branches. Make sure to open the canopy to remove and reduce top weight of trees. Lastly, allow sunlight to penetrate inside of trees and the winds to blow through instead of against tree. This helps reduce potential wind damage or the tree blowing down.
Sources; Moon Valley Nursery, The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Program