SCV Weekly Garden Tips: Windy Weather
Typically the winds kick up around Halloween in the Santa Clarita Valley out through Palmdale along the 14 freeway. The freeway itself cuts right through a canyon corridor where Santa Ana winds have rushed for centuries whenever systems of high pressure set up to the east. The winds drive down the canyon, heating up with compression, and exit into the San Fernando Valley. For gardeners this can mean anything from days to months of destructive winds, swirling dust and complaining allergies.
- In the garden these winds can reek havoc. November is the time trees defoliate, so dead leaves can pile up along with broken branches and trash. Most dangerous of all is the dry air that comes with the Santa Ana winds. Low humidity combines with dessicated brush to create ideal kindling conditions for wildfires. If you prepare your home and garden for the windy weather in the SCV and surrounding areas, you can make this season less threatening.
- Plan ahead by netting ponds. water features or depressed gardens with plastic bird netting to keep these spots from filling with blown refuse. You might also want to turn off any waterfalls so the water doesn’t get blown sideways and lost.
- Cover swimming pools and make sure all potted plants nearby are planted in heavy concrete or ceramic pots that will not blow over.
- Keep brush cleared from around your house and garden so there will be no nearby fuel for wildfires.
- Don’t forget to clean out house gutters where pine needles, dead leaves and other flammable material can be ignited by burning embers.
- Place trash cans and other items that can be blown over into sheltered locations.
- Gather up and store or tie down smaller items or things that could go airborne like umbrellas and tarps.
- Keep in mind the windy season if you live anywhere in or near the Santa Clarita Valley when you purchase furniture for your patio.
- Check your soil before watering. Although the dry air and wind will dry out gardens and lawns quickly, sometimes the soil beneath the surface is still moist when the top appears dry. Plants need less water at this time of year so check an inch down from the surface before you water. Water costs are high and there’s no point in irrigating if the soil is still damp around plant roots.
- Cut off dead tree branches and remove any branches that swipe at the roof or walls of your house.
Common sense will help you, your home and your garden brave the howling winds common at this time of year in the SCV. With a little preparation you can keep your property safer and cleaner despite the Santa Ana winds.
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