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Edition 8.49
December 2008
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Sustainable Practices for the Landscape Professional

Rancho Santa Fe Pages

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Composting Workshops
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Water Conservation Workshop
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San Diego County Water Authority
The 20 Gallon Challenge
Water: Save it or Lose it

Be Water Wise
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Be Water Wise with the Nifty 50!
50 drought tolerant plants native to Southern California

California Water Crisis

California's Water Crisis:
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Mr. G's
"Tip of the Month!"
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It’s time to prune your Roses and Fruit Trees. Use Lilly Miller Polysul Dormant Spray or Lilly Miller Kop-R-Spray mixed with Lilly Miller Superior Type Spray Oil to prevent Peach Leaf Curl, insects and diseases. Monterey Liqui-Cop is also available.


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(760) 944-5777

189 S. Rancho Santa Fe Rd.
Encinitas, CA 92024

7 am - 5 pm
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Mr. G's Irrigation
Fertilizing Guides

Fertilizers and Soil Amendments:

  • Dry and Liquid Fertilizers
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Pest Control Products:

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    Conventional and Organic Available

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See our web page.



Thanks for taking the time to read the Grangetto's Garden Newsletter. If at any time there is a topic that you would like to see in the next newsletter or you have a gardening tip you would like to share, please feel free to email us.

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"There are several ways to lay out a little garden; the best way is to get a gardener."
~ Karel Capek

Manager's Corner: Introducing Bert Favela

Bert Favela, Grangetto's Escondido Commerical Manager

I grew up in North San Diego County, Fallbrook to be exact. My father was a highly respected avocado grove manager for 38 years in both Fallbrook and Valley Center. As a kid I would visit the Grangetto's Escondido supply store with my father and that was always a great experience. That was over 40 years ago.

I practiced horticulture and landscape irrigation while attending college. I continued to learn the ins and outs of running a landscape maintenance business as a supervisor. With 16 years of experience in this area I needed a new challenge. For six years I was the golf course irrigation sales and service rep for the San Diego area for the second largest national wholesale distributor.

In the last 3 years, I have been working with water districts, landscape contractors, municipalities and landscape architects on improving irrigation distribution uniformity and teaching better water management practices, as well as teaching how to conserve our most valuable resource, water.

If you would like some water saving tips or ideas please contact me or visit me at the Grangetto’s Escondido Commercial location. I could help you so that we can all make a difference and start saving water right now.

The Benefits of Frost Cloth

Using frost cloth can mean the difference between life and death this time of year. Maybe you're trying to squeeze in (and keep the bunnies away from) some lettuce before the really bad weather sets in. Or maybe that prized plant will only take temperatures down to 35°. Whatever the case, having a good supply of frost cloth--also sometimes called a "row cover"--is a must.

Frost cloths can generally be found cut to several different widths and lengths, and woven into varying weights. Obviously, the thicker the fabric, the more protection provided. Some cloths advertise plant protection down to 20º, if applied correctly.

So, what are the advantages of using a frost cloth instead of a plain old blanket or plastic sheet? Most important, frost cloth allows both light and water to penetrate, instead of the fabric just getting soaking wet and heavy. Also, frost cloth is more breathable. If temperatures warm up during the day following the cold and you've left the cloth on, chances are your plants won't get cooked, as opposed to what could happen with plastic or cotton sheeting.

While you can just "float" the row cover directly on top of plants, the best set-up is to install hoops or some other support for the frost cloth, making sure it is tall enough to not allow the cloth to touch the plants. Then, drape the cloth over the support and secure it on all sides and at the base, so that the warmth of the ground rises and is trapped around the plants. Office supply-type binder clips, spring clamps, and u-pins all work well for securing the cloth to your chosen support and to the ground

Timing is important, too. If you know Jack Frost is coming, give your plants a good drink of water and get them covered before sunset to trap the most available warmth.

Most commercial frost cloths can be washed in the washing machine on gentle cycle and re-used for several years. They are also great in the springtime as an insect barrier or shade cloth...or for keeping those pesky bunnies away.

N-sulate Frost Cloth


DaVinci Water Gardens

Time to Winterize Your Pond!

Consider these helpful steps to keep your pond ecologically balanced through the winter and into spring.

In SPRING TIME you will thoroughly clean your eco-system pond! You'll get in there, drain the pond, rinse the rock and gravel, and remove any heavy debris that may have accumulated during the fall. You'll thin out your aquatic plants, replace light bulbs in your underwater lighting systems, clean filters and refill the pond, all while ensuring the safety of your fish population and other pond inhabitants.

FALL is a great time to jump-start this process.

1. Wait until the trees around your pond have shed all their leaves. Then, using a small leaf net, fish out as much of the leaf debris off the bottom as you can. I carefully enter the water, and while floating a bucket in front of me, reach underwater and manually clean the bottom that way. However, I recommend this method be left to professionals. The water at this time of year is cold, the bottom slippery and dangerous. If yours is a traditional Koi pond with no rock you can use a pond vacuum.

2. Next, trim your perennial aquatic plants. As the weather cools your aquatic plants may turn yellow or brown as they go dormant. You should trim back the yellowing leaves to prevent the debris from building up in your pond.

3. Fall is also a great time of the year to clean out your biological waterfall filter and service your skimmer box. Most of the material you read from ecosystem pond equipment manufacturers suggests that you service your biological waterfall filter only once a year during spring cleanout. However, we have found that here in California with our extended season, a periodic light cleaning of your biological waterfall filter, especially at this time of the year, is highly beneficial for the overall health of your eco-system.

4. Switch to cold water beneficial bacteria once a week throughout the winter to help maintain pristine water quality in your pond!

5. Switching to a specially formulated cold water fish food for the fall is also important at this time of the year. Stop feeding your fish completely when water temperatures fall below 50°.

6. To assist in the breakdown and reduction of leftover leaf debris, build up and sludge in your streams, waterfalls and on the upper shelves of your pond, shut down your pumps and add bacteria mixed in a bucket of pond water to the entire pond. Let it settle for a couple of hours before turning the pumps back on. It will adhere to the debris and assist in its rapid breakdown. Don’t forget to turn the pumps back on!

Call us and we will be happy to answer any of your questions over the phone. Or, if you would like to have us perform these services for you, call for details; we would love to help.

Larry Carpenter,



This Month's Specials

Grangetto's Gift Ideas

View this month's specials.

Choosing and Displaying a Fresh-cut Christmas Tree

There's nothing that says Christmas quite like the fragrance of a fresh cut Christmas tree. Somehow, scented candles and air fresheners just don’t have the same natural aroma. Selecting and bringing home a fresh cut tree is just a natural part of the holiday tradition.

You can get the most out of your holiday tree by following a few simple guidelines.

Cloud CoverWhen selecting your fresh cut tree, gently stroke the branches or pick up the tree a few inches and bounce the cut end on the ground; few needles should fall if the tree is fresh and has been properly cared for. Make sure to get the right size tree so you don’t have to do a lot of pruning. Measure the height of your ceilings and the width of the space you plan to display your tree in. Remember that a tree doesn’t need to be perfectly even if displayed in a corner.

Once you bring the tree home cut another inch off the base before setting the tree in its water stand. This will help the tree take up water more easily. Immediately fill the stand with water after setting up. Make sure to check the stand's basin daily and add water as needed. Display your tree away from heat sources such as heater vents, fireplaces, stereos and television sets which can promote premature drying.

Above all else, make sure you use only Christmas lights with a UL seal of approval. Inspect your lights each year for excessive wear such as frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking before putting them up. Never use candles near a tree. Remember to turn lights off before going to bed or when unattended. Finally make sure to use non-flammable decorations on your tree. Homemade paper ornaments are cute, but hang them somewhere else in the house for all to see.

Have a safe and Merry Christmas!


December is the Time to

• It’s time to prune your roses and fruit trees. Use Lilly Miller Polysul Dormant Spray or Lilly Miller Kop-R-Spray mixed with Lilly Miller Superior Type Spray Oil to prevent Peach Leaf Curl, insects and diseases. Monterey Liqui-Cop is also available.
• Choose and plant sasanqua camellias and early long-blooming azaleas.
Read more about what to do for your garden in December!


Unusual Gift Plants

If you want to give something a little different as a Christmas gift this year, stray outside the normal holiday sections of your nursery or garden center and peruse the plant aisles for interesting ideas. Many one-gallon landscape plants can make beautiful gift plants. Combine them with the right pot and they can be truly extraordinary.

Read more about giving plants as gifts this year.

New Product, Now Available

Gro Power, Toss n' Gro

Pest of the Month: Root Rot

Indoor and Outdoor Plants

One needn’t be a professional gardener to appreciate a houseful of greenery. In fact, most of us are stumbling along, learning a bit more each day about the plants with which we share our lives. And in return for the pleasure of form and color they add to our living environments, not to mention the fresh oxygen they release into the air, we often are too eager to reciprocate by over-tending them.

Read more to learn about root rot.

Go Native!

Learn more about growing native plants!

California's Native Plants:
When to Plant
How to Plant

Plant a Victory Garden

In the U.S., during World War I, we called them 'War Gardens.' They became 'Victory Gardens' in World War II. And they saved this country (and others) from a severe food shortage. It has been estimated that, in WWII, home and community gardens produced more than one-third of all vegetables grown in the United States and provided about 70 percent of the vegetables eaten by Americans at home.

Read more about how planting a victory garden can save you money!


Growing Your Own Has Never Been So Easy

Garden Crib

Winterizing Roses

Learn more about how to get your roses ready to face the winter season!

New Rose Selections for 2009
New Shrub Roses for 2009
Bare root roses

Dormant Spraying of Fruit and Deciduous Trees

Dormant spraying helps to keep destructive insect populations as well as potentially deadly fungal infections under control. Dormant spray should be applied to all deciduous trees and shrubs which had insect infestations or disease during the prior year. This is especially important for fruit trees and roses.

Dormant Spray ProductsDormant oil spraying should be done on a clear day when there is little or no breeze. The ideal temperature for application is between 40 and 70 degrees F; preferably temperatures should remain over 50 degrees F. for at least twenty four hours in order to get the oil to spread out over the tree and cover all crooks and crevices. Complete coverage is required for effective control of all over-wintering pests.

Apply this spray under pressure with a pump sprayer, or with a hose-end sprayer two times; when all of the leaves have fallen (late November or early December), and again in early February before buds begin to swell. In some instances, gardeners are successful with only one application during the period of early December through late January. But if the infestation or disease was very bad during the previous season, two sprayings would be the best bet.

For insect control, use Lilly Miller Superior Type Spray Oil. This oil will smother insect eggs over-wintering in the same places as the fungal spores. This product can be mixed together with Lime Sulphur (Lilly Miller Polysul Summer & Dormant Spray) for excellent control of insects and disease.

It is essential that you always follow the manufacturer's recommendations when using any chemical product.  Ask a Grangetto Garden Expert for recommendations.

Spray Schedules For:

Stone Fruits: Almonds, Apricots, Nectarines, Peaches, Plums, Prunes
Apples and Pears
Flower Garden Spray Guide
Ornamental Trees and Shrubs Spray Guide
Vegetable Spray Guide


Winter Watering

Cooler winter weather greatly reduces plant water needs but doesn't eliminate them. Dry winds, bright sunlight, low humidity and unusually warm or dry weather can desiccate landscape plants even when they are dormant. Affected plants may appear normal and resume growth in the spring, only to weaken or die in late spring or early summer because the amount of new growth produced is greater than the weakened root system can support. So it pays to make sure there is sufficient moisture in the soil as winter begins and, if necessary, water in winter.

Where winters are milder, you may be able to turn off automated sprinkler systems but you should still be prepared to water manually during dry or warm spells. Shallow-rooted annual flowers, winter vegetable gardens and potted plants will also have to be watched carefully so they don't dry out.

Rules for efficient watering apply in winter as they do in summer. Water trees and shrubs to a depth of 18 to 24 inches and make sure to concentrate the water around the drip line (the outside of the canopy). One or two deep waterings per winter should be sufficient.

Article Courtesy of Bayer Advanced.


Many enthusiastically consider the camellia "Queen of the Garden," especially while roses are quietly resting. Ok, so our roses in the west don't begin to rest until we forcefully, but of course sadly, decide that we must cut them back in January. Luckily for us, beginning in September and continuing into the Spring, the camellia brings elegant floral form and color into our gardens.

Learn more about camellias.


Decorating with Holiday Plants

Nurseries, florist shops and even supermarkets are full of cheerfully colorful holiday plants this month. There are red, white and pink cyclamen, forced bulbs like tulips and daffodils, stunning amaryllis, orchids, heaths and heathers, and small holly plants. Even the poinsettias aren't just red and white any more. They come in many shades of pink, some are speckled with contrasting colors, and others have interesting, wavy flower clusters. And if you live in a mild winter climate, there are even more plants to choose from, including beautiful sasanqua camellias. In colder areas, don't forget berries plants like barberry, pyracantha and hollies.

Read more about decorating with holiday plants.

Article Courtesy of Bayer Advanced


Retail Newsletter

Click here to read the latest edition.




Nothing is more beautiful in the garden than a large display of cyclamen. They are among the best winter-blooming plants. You can use them in pots on tables, by the front door, or planted in a nice shady spot outdoors. And they're great for atriums.

Check out these tips for growing cyclamen successfully.


Grangetto's Encinitas Demonstration Garden Opens

Grangetto's Encinitas Demonstration Garden

Approximately 2200 square feet of lawn was removed and the area converted to plant species that use far less water. The new installation incorporates state-of-the-art drip irrigation technology available at Grangetto’s. It is anticipated that once the new plantings are established, they can be irrigated as little as one time a month.

The garden was designed by John Ploetz, a veteran San Diego area landscape designer based in Rancho Santa Fe, and installed by Green Horizons Landscape and Maintenance. Plants came from Rancho Soledad Nurseries, Briggs Tree Company, and Designed II at Daylily Hill. Boulders and decomposed granite were provided by KRC Rock; soil amendments came from Peirano Topsoils. The drip irrigation materials are manufactured by Hunter Industries.

John commented, “People need to know that the alternative to high water and maintenance bills is not a yard that looks like the Anza-Borrego desert in August. There are many colorful and interesting plants from regions of the world with climates similar to ours--plants that are well adapted to our hot, dry summers and warm, wet winters.” Many of the plants used have interesting stories associated with them; for example, California holly, which lent its name to Hollywood, California. Several of the plants used (Aloe ‘Hercules’, Echeveria ‘Afterglow’, Euphorbia milii ‘Jerry’s Choice, and Agave ‘Blue Flame’) were grown in test tubes by local company Rancho Tissue Technologies --- a process called tissue-culture, that reproduces exact copies of plants with superior genetics.

Kevin Grangetto, President of Grangetto’s, said, “We are already having our customers asking us about the new landscape and once they talk with our knowledgeable staff they realize they can start saving water in their own landscapes right away.”

John Ploetz can be reached for a consultation at (760) 801-7760.


3 C Bread
Click here for the recipe.


Happy Holidays!

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