1. Change irrigation programs seasonally.
2. Check irrigation operations weekly.
3. Do not over water! Allow the soil to become dry before watering again. Continual wet soil will kill plant material just as fast as no water! (Who knew?) To determine moisture content, take small core samples with a hand shovel at least 6â€³ deep during each season. You want the soil to be dry to lightly damp.
4. Fertilize turf areas four times a year (seasonally), with a fertilizer recommended by your local retail supplier. During the summer months, apply an additional two applications with a high nitrogen-based fertilizer. Apply the fertilizer to a dry surface. Remove all excess fertilizer from surrounding surfaces to prevent possible staining. Shrubs, ground covers, and trees should be fertilized once a year during the spring season.
5. Keep trees straight. If a tree seems to over power the supports, thin out the branches to allow for less resistance to the wind. At about six months, begin loosening the ties and cables to allow for more movement. Continue a gradual process until you feel the tree can stand strongly enough on its own to support the branches. Wean the tree gradually and not suddenly. Staking and cabling should be removed within one to two years at most.
6. Trees need deep water to promote a deep root system and a healthy tree. Check the soil under the shadow of the canopy. You want it to be wet to a depth of 12â€³ to 24â€³. Do this each season after you have changed the irrigation program.
7. Mow turf areas to a height between 1-1/2â€³ to 2â€³. Keep turf longer in the summer months and shorter in the winter months.
8. If things seem strange, consult a Sunset Western Garden book for ideas or take a sample of the problem to your local nursery.
Whether you are planning to plant your patio garden (a great place to start!) or your entire backyard â€“ your local nurseries are a great place to start! Â Here are some local nurseries near our current communities:
Sloat Nursery in San Bruno near Merimont and Park Station
Green Thumb Nursery in Los Gatos near Parkwood
Summer Winds Nursery in Palo Alto, Mountain View, and San Jose so close to Echelon, Parkwood, Redwood Gate, Satake Estates and Village Square
Mission Adobe Garden in Fremont near Rosewood and Talavera
Regan Nursery in Fremont near Talavera and Rosewood
Roger Reynolds in Menlo Park close to Lane Woods