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How to Assess the Health of Your Tree

It can take years or even decades for trees to reach maturity, so as a homeowner, investing some time and energy into the health of your trees simply makes sense. After all, replacing a tree that’s been lost due to disease or pest damage is both expensive and difficult to do.

How Trees Grow

One of the reasons why trees are able to grow to dizzying heights and remain vibrant for many generations is the fact that trees grow in layers, and each of these unique layers plays a specific role in the health of the tree.

The outermost two layers of a tree are known as the bark, which serves as a ‘skin’ for the tree. The outer bark is tough and firm; it works to shield the tree from pests and…

Drought Proof Trees for Your California Yard

Droughts come and go in southern California — but we live in a desert, so another one is always waiting in the wings. That doesn’t mean that you can only plant cacti and palm trees in your yard, though. Plenty of drought-proof trees can help make your yard beautiful while remaining drought-resistant and conserving water.

Take a look at these fast-growing trees that let you drought-proof your California yard.

Texas Redbud

Those pink flowers help give this drought-resistant tree its name. This hardy tree is a great choice as a street tree or a shade tree, and you can even grow it as a container tree, at least for a while. The redbud is a deciduous tree that grows rapidly, at a rate…

Organically Mosquito Proof Your Yard

Warm summer evenings are times when many people enjoy sitting out in the summer breeze and enjoying the quiet beauty of the season. The feeling of peace and quiet can go on for only a short time before the mosquitoes show up and ruin everything. Summer fun, during the day or night, is usually synonymous with attacking clouds of hungry mosquitoes. There are plenty of chemicals you could use to keep the bugs away, but it would be better to look into organic solutions that are just as effective.
Mosquito Repellant Plants
The idea of using chemicals to keep mosquitoes out of the backyard concerns many people, especially parents of small children. Instead of spraying chemicals, you can grow a w…

Growing Herbs in Warm Climates

Southern California has the perfect weather for growing herbs. Because it falls in zone 9 and 10 on the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map, the climate is idea for plant growth because most herbs thrive when they have plenty of sunlight. Most herbs need six to eight hours of direct sunlight, both in the morning and early evening. However, when the temperatures reach ninety degrees and above, the amount of sunlight can be reduced to about four hours in the morning. Also, you might want to provide some artificial shade as temperatures rise.

SOIL

The soil is also important when it comes to growing herbs. Herbs produce essential oils and the production of these oils can be drastically affected…

Caring for your Avocado Tree Part 2: Diseases and Pests

Between homemade smoothies, skin care, and good old-fashioned guacamole, who doesn’t love a fresh, ripe avocado?

As much as we all wish that avocado trees could be a plant it, forget it, and harvest affair, caring for your tree requires consistency and vigilance. The health of your tree can and often does have a huge impact on your harvest during fruit-bearing season.

Here’s an overview of some of the most common diseases and pests that avocado tree owners have to be on the lookout for.

Diseases & Conditions

Sunblotch

Avocado trees that have been hit by sunblotch are often stunted in growth, discolored in the twigs and the bark, and, perhaps most importantly, yield dis…

Caring for your Avocado Tree Part 1: Seasonal Upkeep

Prized for their buttery textured, highly nutritious and delicious flavored fruits, avocados trees have become a staple of the California landscape. From backyard growers to commercial farms they flourish and thrive by the thousands.

As plentiful as they are in Mid to Southern California this is not their native home and they actually prefer an even warmer climate. While this obviously doesn’t mean they are not a viable plant in the local environment, it does mean that they may require a little seasonal upkeep to remain in top health and delivering maximum beauty and production.

Flushing the Soil

California rains tend to deposit a high amount of salts in the soil. This can be detrim…

Caring For Your Poinsettias This Holiday Season

Poinsettia plants are synonymous with the holiday season, and in many homes and businesses this festive plant is must-have for the holidays.

As a native to hot, tropical climates, poinsettias can be a bit tricky to care for during the cooler winter months here in Southern California. However, with a little care and know-how, you can keep your holiday poinsettias vibrant and healthy throughout the holidays and beyond.

Types of Poinsettias

There are over 100 known varieties of poinsettias, with bracts (colored leaves) ranging in color from the traditional bright red to pink, white, marbled (varigated), and even speckled. If you’ve noticed blue-hued poinsettias, those are actually whit…

Firescaping Your Yard – How to Use Fire-Resistance Landscaping to Protect Your Yard

Looking to create a warm, welcoming landscape around your home that’s easy to maintain and free from highly-flammable plants and materials?

While you can’t control Mother Nature, you can help improve the odds that your home will survive a wildfire by using fire-resistant plants and building materials in your yard.

Also known as ‘defensible landscaping’, the idea behind firescaping your yard is simple – replace all the highly-flammable plants and hardscape materials with flowers, shrubs, and stonework to create a natural fire barrier around your home.

Fire-Resistant Plants

Although there’s no such thing as a ‘fire-proof plant’ there are many species that are considered to be ‘fire…

How to Grow Kale Year Around

Kale is the ideal crop for both beginning gardeners and seasoned growers alike, thanks to the fact that it grows quickly, performs well in both garden beds and containers, and it’s exceptionally hardy.

Kale – Packed With Powerful Nutrients

In the last few years, more and more health experts have crowned kale a superfood as it is packed with anti-inflammatory compounds, cancer-fighting antioxidants, and even folate, a critical nutrient for the prevention of birth defects.

At a mere 36 calories, O grams of fat, 3 grams of protein and an impressive 5 grams of fiber per one cup serving, it’s one of the most nutritionally dense vegetables you can grow. Kale is also packed with health…

Succulents: Ideal Indoor Plants

Succulents are plants with fleshy leaves that can come in a variety of colors. They are part of the same family as the cactus, and they can even be found on cacti in the wild. Succulents are excellent indoor plants because of their hardy nature and their colorful look. If you want to start planting succulents in your home to add color to your decor, then you should become familiar with the best ways to care for them.

Hardy and Soft Succulents

If you plan on planting your succulents indoors, then it helps to know the differences between hardy and soft succulents. Hardy succulents have thicker leaves and can survive in temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in an…

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