High winds and the garden in Los Angeles County
High winds in the canyons are no strangers in sunny Southern California, especially in the autumn, early winter and in early spring. Usually they are caused by a strong high pressure area over the four corner states that drives warmer inland air through the narrow grooves of the canyons, heating it up, and exhaling the warm winds into Los Angeles and other areas. These are commonly referred to as the Santa Ana winds, and they can howl for days at a time, especially on the outskirts of Los Angeles like in the Santa Clarita Valley into Palmdale, and north into Castaic.
Sometimes there are other high or low pressure areas that fight with each other and create cooler winds — usually when systems come down from the north rather than building over areas east of Los Angeles. Right now we are in the middle of an unusually long period of windy weather forecast for the Los Angeles County area due to one of those colder, northern pressure set-ups.
One of the biggest dangers of heavy winds in the chaparral are blown-over trees. Roofing tiles that are loose can also tear off. And objects can become dangerously airborne. Here are some things you can do to secure your garden during heavy winds:
Make your garden and home safe in these high winds. Keep branches trimmed on trees. It’s a good time for tree trimming in the cooler months when sap flows slowly.
Put away objects like umbrellas that can become lethal when whipped into flight by a strong gust of wind.
Use cement pots and heavily-built outdoor furniture around swimming pools so they don’t blow into the water.
Keep trash, leaves and pine needles cleaned up. This not only looks better and avoids clogging drains for the next rainfall, but also keeps your property safer from the potential of wildfire destruction in these dry winds.
Tie down covers and other coverings that could catch wind and blow away or be shredded.
Keep in mind high winds in the Los Angeles County garden when choosing trees and other plants for your garden. Plant trees a safe distance from your house in a location where they can root strongly, and choose varieties with lower wind profiles and good root systems. Avoid plants with large leaves that will tatter. Design in deciduous (winter leaf-dropping) plantings where leaves can become a problem, like near a swimming pool or a pond. And design in furniture, storage and hardscapes (permanent features) to weather heavy winds.
Living in Los Angeles county and other surrounding chaparral areas offers lovely weather compared to so many other parts of the United States. But beware. We DO get winds. Big winds. And if you design your garden wisely, you can sail comfortably right through them!
Leave a Reply
Amazon Carousel Widget