Santa Barbara Autumn Landscaping Checklist
Autumn is here. What can you do to prepare your garden for the seasons ahead? Any experienced gardener or landscaper knows that each season offers challenges and opportunities. In Santa Barbara, Fall is often the warmest time of the year. Some say it feels more like summer than actual summertime. This weather is unique because while the days are often extremely warm, they give way to nights that cool off these warm days.
October often boasts high-pressure systems, a weather pattern that is a key ingredient for these hot, dry days punctuated by warm Santa Ana winds. The short days and cool nights put less stress on the plant material, and this dry time of the year encourages perennials to go to sleep for the winter.
So, how does a homeowner embrace this climate pattern and use it to their advantage?
Prepare you your lawn and garden for the winter season.
1. Install native plant material—The reason to plant these in the fall is simply because of the weather. Planting during the cooler time of the year puts less stress on the plant material. It allows the plant material time to settle into the soil free of shock. Natives include:
- Monkey Flower
- Native Iris
- Native Roses
- Native Penstemon
2. October is a good time to plant annual flowers such as chrysanthemums. These annuals require limited water, and they come in an array of autumnal colors sure to add pumpkin spice to your garden. Other fall annuals include:
3. Buy and plant bulbs—October is the traditional time of the year for planting bulbs. This is because planting in October gives bulbs all winter to lay in the frozen soil, a necessity for bulb flowering. In Santa Barbara, however, since the soil does not freeze, bulbs need to spend some time in the refrigerator before they are planted. They need 4-6 weeks in the refrigerator, which means they need to go into the refrigerator in September. If you don’t get them cold in time, don’t worry. Santa Barbara’s mild winter allows for planting of bulbs all the way through December. Please these bulbs:
4. Plant spring blooming seeds—Again, since the soil does not freeze in Santa Barbara, it is a good time to sow flower seeds that will bloom in the spring. Some good choices are:
- Sweet peas
- Sweet alyssum
5. Fertilize azaleas and camellias—Fertilizing these plants promotes bud growth for these winter bloomers. Pinch off smaller camellia buds to encourage larger bud growth.
6. Plant winter vegetables—There are many vegetables that flourish in the fall and winter. Such as:
- Bok Choy
- Greens like Chard and Kale Re-mulch your beds—Doing this in the fall will keep weeds down during the wet part of the year. It will also keep the planting beds warmer for your flowers.
7. Re-mulch your beds—Doing this in the fall will keep weeds down during the wet part of the year. It will also keep the planting beds warmer for your flowers.
8. Remove leaf material infected with diseases such as powdery mildew and black spot—When infected leaves fall to the ground, the moisture from the soil causes diseased mildew spores to spread.
9. Do a walk-through of your irrigation system—The cool part of the year generally begins in November. It is a good time to check for holes and breaks in the system. It’s better to find them now than in the spring.
Get started on your Autumn lawn and garden care now! Autumn planting season in Santa Barbara is a short season. And if you need any other fall planting tips or advice, give us a call. We’d be happy to help!