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Old 11-13-2019, 09:59 AM
 
Location: SoCal, but itching to relocate
444 posts, read 243,445 times
Reputation: 589

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I'm in Southern California, Zone 10b. We really don't get a winter here...it gets colder, but rarely (if ever) does it go below freezing where I am. And autumn/fall, well, that can be cool or really hot and dry, usually both off & on.

When I read that something should be planted in the fall or pruned back in winter, I'm not sure what that means in my zone. Should I just go by the calendar and ignore the weather?

Examples: I have some naked lady bulbs that need to be thinned and replanted, and I've read to do this in late fall. I also have an overgrown rosemary bush, and I've read to prune it back to half the desired size in winter so that by the end of spring, it will be the size I want it. I'm rather new to all of this, so...
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Old 11-13-2019, 12:02 PM
 
Location: British Columbia ~🌄 ☀️ ♥ 🍁 ♥ ☀️🌄~
7,918 posts, read 6,970,456 times
Reputation: 15905
Quote:
Originally Posted by ImmerLernen View Post
I'm in Southern California, Zone 10b. We really don't get a winter here...it gets colder, but rarely (if ever) does it go below freezing where I am. And autumn/fall, well, that can be cool or really hot and dry, usually both off & on.

When I read that something should be planted in the fall or pruned back in winter, I'm not sure what that means in my zone. Should I just go by the calendar and ignore the weather?

Examples: I have some naked lady bulbs that need to be thinned and replanted, and I've read to do this in late fall. I also have an overgrown rosemary bush, and I've read to prune it back to half the desired size in winter so that by the end of spring, it will be the size I want it. I'm rather new to all of this, so...

In your situation I'd suggest you go by the calendar because then, rather than going by fluctuating weather and temperature conditions you'll be going by the decreasing light conditions that plants are adapted to in your location. That is to say, the number of hours of daylight per day. Dec. 21st (winter solstice) is the shortest day of the year before daylight hours start getting longer again so I'd advise to get as much as possible of that prep work done before winter solstice arrives.

The reason why is that so many plants in late autumn will become dormant or semi-dormant or at the very least much slower in growth and sap circulation in the 2 months leading up to Dec. 21st because of decreasing daily light exposure. Like drowsing or sleeping because it gets darker earlier regardless of what the weather and temps may be like. During that time of year IS a good time to do pruning, digging up and transplanting of bulbs because most 'sleeping' plants are less likely to go into shock from being uprooted/transplanted nor to 'weep' copious amounts of sap from open cuts from pruning as they may do in the spring.

So yes, do the naked lady bulbs in mid to late autumn, you can start on them now if you want, and you can do the rosemary bush too. With regard to the rosemary which is an evergreen plant, while I'd suggest that autumn is indeed the best time of year to prune it back, I grow rosemary bushes too and they grow quite fast, sometimes way too fast, so I prune them any time of the year that I want to if I think they need it. Some of them get pruned back 4 times a year anyway because I harvest and process the newest growth for culinary and medicinal purposes. I'm in a 9b zone in the PNW.
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Old 11-13-2019, 12:14 PM
 
Location: SoCal
14,639 posts, read 7,048,717 times
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Rosemary, I just prune them. However when I want to move some fruit trees, I wait until the leaves are dropping first. That’s about as winter as it gets.
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Old 11-13-2019, 01:18 PM
 
Location: SoCal, but itching to relocate
444 posts, read 243,445 times
Reputation: 589
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoisite View Post
The reason why is that so many plants in late autumn will become dormant or semi-dormant or at the very least much slower in growth and sap circulation in the 2 months leading up to Dec. 21st because of decreasing daily light exposure. Like drowsing or sleeping because it gets darker earlier regardless of what the weather and temps may be like. During that time of year IS a good time to do pruning, digging up and transplanting of bulbs because most 'sleeping' plants are less likely to go into shock from being uprooted/transplanted nor to 'weep' copious amounts of sap from open cuts from pruning as they may do in the spring.

So yes, do the naked lady bulbs in mid to late autumn, you can start on them now if you want, and you can do the rosemary bush too. With regard to the rosemary which is an evergreen plant, while I'd suggest that autumn is indeed the best time of year to prune it back, I grow rosemary bushes too and they grow quite fast, sometimes way too fast, so I prune them any time of the year that I want to if I think they need it. Some of them get pruned back 4 times a year anyway because I harvest and process the newest growth for culinary and medicinal purposes. I'm in a 9b zone in the PNW.
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Thanks a million for your detailed reply! The "decreasing daily light exposure" (and everything else you said) is very helpful.
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Old 11-13-2019, 08:46 PM
 
Location: Puna, Hawaii
1,958 posts, read 2,189,427 times
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In Hawaii we have similar problems and agree with using the solstice as your guide. We have found for example that for growing Irish type potatoes they do pretty well but only when the days are getting longer. So we can plant anytime when the greens won't be coming up until after December 21ish. Yields are much smaller if we try to grow them when the days are getting shorter. All the literature focuses on temperature but that doesn't seem to be the case when growing in the tropics.

You may also want fruits etc that you've been told don't fruit in your area- may not be the case. And by this I mean that the trees grow fine they just never produce fruit. You can try defoliating them by hand (dwarf varieties, obviously). The tree may not care if the winter caused the leaves to drop or they were eaten by insects or yanked off by humans, it can cause the tree to flower. This doesn't work for stone fruits that need actual chill hours. We had an apple variety that was the only way for it to make apples.
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