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The Great Outdoors
November, 2015 - Issue #133
courtesy of Shutterstock
courtesy of Shutterstock
Fall in Love with Fruit Trees for Landscaping You can Eat
On-trend cities and counties across the country are opting for edible landscapes. In fact, one of California's most traveled vacation destinations - Central-coast wine country and Cambria - was recently acknowledged for their rambling heirloom tomato "shrubbery," kumquat ornamentals and amaranth-grain "grasses" that sway in the breeze beautifully.

The most refined Santa Clarita landscapes can take advantage of this not-going-anywhere style by choosing plants and trees that taste as good as they look.

This time of year, the focus is on fruiting trees. Now is a wonderful time to plant trees, as the mild weather allows roots to settle in nicely before harsher winter winds and chills pose a real challenge. The trick is choosing trees that do well in our climate, can be adequately watered with a drip system to conserve resources and look attractive even when they are not bearing fruit.

Smart picks for our climate are many. A very popular choice is the pomegranate tree. It can be clipped to prevent it from overgrowing your space and even a young tree will quickly begin bearing some fruit. When fruited, there are few things prettier than those bright-red bulbs of (Expensive in the store!) deliciousness. Apple trees also do quite well; just choose a variety that doesn't require substantial chill hours and remember that you may require more than one if selecting a variety that does not self-pollinate. Stone fruits like nectarines and peaches, Asian pears, persimmons and more do well in the SCV, too, and are a lovely addition to your landscape year-round. You can also plant grape vines in the fall; replacing a water-gulping ornamental hedge that requires too much maintenance with lower-maintenance and water-sipping grapes is never a bad idea.
NV Landscape, Inc. 286-8888

Hydrozones are a Smart Idea for Every SCV Season
If you had a hose and needed to water your lawn and a succulent, would you water each the same amount? Of course not!

Most of us intuitively know that different types of plants have different watering needs. But our irrigation systems are not necessarily set up according to plant types. When you create hydrozones, you create zones of plants with the same water needs.

Cool-season turf grass - the lovely dark-green thin-bladed plant which many of us have in our front and back yards - has the highest water needs of any landscaping plant in the Santa Clarita Valley. For irrigation, it is best to keep your turf grass on its own zone (or valve), without any trees or shrubs irrigated at the same time. If you have an irrigation zone with turf, trees and shrubs, your trees and shrubs will most likely be over-watered.

Trees and shrubs can be put on a drip irrigation system fairly easily. Drip irrigation will literally drip water at the base of the plant, which is about the same rate at which our clay soils can absorb it. It is extremely effective. Does drip irrigation need to be maintained? Yes, all irrigation systems need periodic inspections and maintenance. Drip irrigation is not any different in this respect.
Castaic Lake Water Agency offers drip irrigation classes which are available to the community. www.clwa.org

Let the Fresh Fall Air In with Smart Screens that Disappear Out of Sight
The Phantom Screens door screen provides the utility of a conventional screen with none of the unsightly results. It is there when you need it, and invisible when you don't. No other door screen is as stylish, versatile and functional.
Retractable, disappearing screen doors operate on a similar principal to spring-loaded pull down blinds, except they pull across. Screens have flexible mesh that rolls up and can be custom fit for almost any opening. When the Phantom Screen is not in use, it retracts into its protective housing and blends into the decor of its surroundings.

For projects requiring customized color matching, Phantom Screens offers 188 TIGER Drylac RAL powdercoated finishes to blend screening solutions with interior and exterior color schemes. Color matching is also available to further customize a project. Custom color options are available for an additional cost with the purchase of any Phantom Screen solution.
Phantom Screens of Southern California 799-9226
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