Connect With Your Garden

These are strange days, right? Perhaps that’s an understatement. The outbreak of a global pandemic was simply not on my radar. At all. I’m certainly not the only one. As far as I can tell each of us is filled with urgent stories of surreal experiences, and intense emotions as we grapple with this new, unprecedented reality. During this forced isolation I think we’re collectively yearning for connection. What could be better than taking time to connect with your garden?

The garden has been a place of solace to me ever since I was a child. I remember one Saturday afternoon being scolded by my dad. I was about six years old and had surely committed some egregious offense. My punishment: 2 hours in the “Weed Patch”. The Weed Patch was a small rectangle of about 10’x15′ where we planted our tomatoes and wild flowers every year. My dad used that chore as a punishment because it took me away from friends and tv. I’d trudge through the Patch with messy tears and snot smeared across my face and my little trowel in hand to begin my penance. But at some point during the chore, the tears would stop and I actually began enjoying myself.

Lately, I’ve been feeling overwhelmed with the weight of this crisis and the stories of human tragedy and fear. Do you feel it, too? I spend too much time scrolling through news articles and social media posts then feel shaken with an urge to fight or run.

A few days ago, I woke up to news that the State Department initiated a Level 4 travel advisory (seriously limiting International travel). It was quickly followed by the governor of California instituting a “stay-in-place” ordinance. I was apoplectic over the ramifications it could have for my return from Japan as well as for our family and friends struggling back in California. I needed to do something to settle myself down.

Feeling like the walls were closing in, I bolted outside. Here in Tokyo, I don’t have a much of garden to speak of. I merely have a narrow strip containing a row of anemic, dwarf azaleas with a constant understory of weeds. Out of mindless habit, I got down on my hands and knees and started pulling. The sun was shining. It was a little breezy. There were birds chirping—so many birds. And before long I began to feel like myself again. I could breath freer, my shoulders softened and I felt calmer. I could hardly believe how quickly the fear settled into a calm disquiet. Not perfect. But so. much. better.

It reminded me that in the most emotional and difficult times, to connect with your garden—whether by weeding it, planting something new in it, or simply walking through it—can help you find peace in the one place you can still go right now. Connecting with your garden allows you to effect change, not just in the garden but in your mind, body and spirit. And that is something we could all use a little bit of.

I encourage you, whether you are a career landscape professional, an avid enthusiast, or an admirer, take a few minutes out of your day to try one of these suggestions. Connect with your garden and the space around you and disconnect from the challenges on the horizon. I promise, you won’t regret it!


The first thing our maintenance team does when they arrive at our clients’ homes before getting to work is to walk around and take a look. It’s one of the most important steps in maintenance because it gives you a chance to take stock of what’s there and determine how you want to set your priorities.

Here’s how:

  • Start at the place closest to your door and walk slowly around all the planting areas, making a complete loop through the garden.
  • Your pace should be slow. No faster than if you were trying to sneak up on your pet without waking them up.
  • First look around with a soft focus. You’re trying to get a sense of the garden as a whole. Does anything stand out? Is there a plant that you love but can’t see because it’s blocked by something else? Are there any plants that are way bigger than you remember them being? Or way smaller?
  • Next, look at each individual plant as you pass it. Is it blooming? Are any of the blooms looking old and spent? Are there any leaves or branches that are brown or dying? Do you see weeds? Are there plants growing on top of other plants? Do you see any pests?
  • Make a mental note of what you see that stands out to you. Plan on returning to any spots that you really want to play with.
  • No judgement allowed. If you haven’t spent much time in the garden lately, that’s fine! The goal here is connecting with your garden, making observations and maybe considering what you might want to do with it next time.
  • Don’t forget to take some deep breaths as you go along. This is important. Just because it’s good for you!
  • End at your starting point. You now have a mental map of your garden and hopefully have enjoyed a nice break.


Once a chore imposed on me as a child, now, it’s one of the most meditative, dare I say enjoyable, gardening tasks I perform. The more weeds the better!

Here’s how:
It’s usually best to have a tool with you: hori hori, dandelion fork, hand hoe, weeding fork or if you have a bad back, a long handled tool: long handled diamond fork, Niwashi (Japanese weeding tool), etc. But hands also work.

  • Find the spot with the most weeds. (Don’t be scared!)
  • If the soil is hard, using your tool, dig down the side of the weed and leverage the weed out of the ground.
  • If the soil is soft and relatively loose pinch the base of the weed with your fingers as low as possible, below the soil level if you can.
  • Try to bring up the weed with it’s roots in tact. If you leave roots, it’s offspring will be back before dinnertime.
  • Start slow and pay attention to what you’re doing to really try getting those roots. As you get the hang of it, move faster but continue to concentrate. If your mind starts to wander, gently bring your attention back to the task.
  • Put the weeds in the compost heap (one that heats up, in order to kill any seeds)
  • Continue until you are sufficiently relaxed and mentally present. Or until the weeds are gone.
  • If you still feel anxious but all your weeds are gone, try weeding your neighbor’s front yard, for good measure. It helps with mindfulness and will help you make friends too (as long as you stay 6′ apart).

Note: This is a great activity to do with kids! It isn’t difficult, they get to see what a great job they’ve done and they feel a sense of accomplishment. My garden never had fewer weeds than when my son was a willing helper!


Certain plants, particularly strappy ones, continuously shed leaves to make room for fresh new ones. Clearing out those yellowing or brown leaves makes a huge difference in having a beautiful versus a so-so looking garden.

Here’s how:

  • Identify the plants in your garden that have regular die-off. Hemerocallis (Day Lilies), Agapanthus, Carex, Dietes (Fortnight lilies), Elymus Giant Rye Grass and most grasses are the most notorious ones.
  • Using your hands, fluff up each of the plants (unless it has sharp edges, in which case use a tool), lift up the fresh green blades/leaves and see what’s underneath.
  • Pull yellowing and brown leaves from the base and remove with your hands. If it freely comes loose, great.
  • If the leaves do not come loose, use one of your knife-like tools. I like the hori hori or the turf cutter for those.
  • Cut away from the very base of the plant watching out for fingers and drip lines.
  • If you’re working on shrubs, always use your clippers to remove any branches. No tearing.
  • If you have browning leaves on a shrub you can simply run your hands through the plants to shake loose anything that has died off. Don’t pluck!
  • After you finish a plant or two, stand back. Appreciate that you have made a change here and things look better than they did when you started! Sometimes you can’t tell when you’re in the middle of it, so stepping back from time to time helps.


All blooming plants should be “deadheaded” regularly. All that means is take off the flowers when they look kind of old and sad. Roses, for example, will bloom much more prolifically if you continuously cut away the spent roses. It’s the same for salvias, lavenders, and all the others.

Here’s how:

  • Start with a good pair of clippers. Or a bad pair if that’s all you have. In fact, since you’re most likely stuck at home, if you don’t have clippers I won’t tell anyone if you use a pair of household scissors (just don’t forget to clean them afterwards otherwise your kid’s next art project might be ruined).
  • You are looking for bloomers that look old and sad. By this I mean that their color has faded compared with newer blooms, they droop downward or have lost some or most of their petals.
  • If you have a plant that has flower spikes (the bloom is at the end of a long stem), you should cut it down as close to the base as possible.
  • If you’re working on a rose bush, find the rose you want to cut, look down the stem for the next cluster of leaves that faces outward of the plant and cut about 1/4 of an inch before that leaf. The new rose will grow from that junction.
  • If you’re deadheading a flowering shrub such as a lavender just cut off the bloom down the stem as close to the first leaf cluster as possible.
  • When deadheading an azalea or camellia, grab the old bloomer in your hand and gently try to snap or pull it off. If it doesn’t come off in your hand, it isn’t ready yet. (For azaleas, try putting a little cooking oil on your fingers before working with them—to avoid getting sticky from the sap which I find particularly annoying.)
  • What ever the plant is that you’re deadheading be sure to talk lovingly to it as you look for each bloom you want to remove. Stay with me, ok? I don’t mean tell it your problems—although I sometimes find them to be excellent, non-judgmental listeners. What I mean is, speak your thoughts as you look for the blooms that need to be cut, “How are you doing? You look like you’re about done, is that right? Wow, you’ve lost all your petals already, I’m sorry I missed that.” It’s another way to be present in the moment with what you are doing. To suspend judgement of anything else that’s happening in your life or in the world, to let go of the past and not worry about the future. Just take that moment to think about that flower in front of you. Right now.


There are few things more hopeful than planting seeds! These teeny tiny capsules of hope are one of the best ways to connect with your garden. Planting seeds is another great activity to share with kids.

Here’s how:

  • Sunflower seeds are my all time favorites for personal gratification. The seeds are big and easy to plant, they germinate in about as much time as it takes to put your tools away, and the end result of bright, boppy, funflowers is less than 2 months away.
  • Plant a new group every two weeks to make your sunny days last longer.
  • California poppies or other wildflowers make another great choice for planting. And talk about easy. Water the soil where you want them to go. Loosen the soil. Then sprinkle them, don’t bury them. Finally press them down to make firm contact with the soil, and water once more and keep things moist. You’ll see them germinate in about a week.
  • Veggies are a must for some extremely gratifying gardening. Choose varieties that you actually like to eat. Don’t plant tomatoes if you don’t like tomatoes! Cucumbers, zucchini bell peppers and of course tomatoes are great choices and easy to grow. Start with 4” pots and plant them either in larger pots or directly in the ground. Cucumbers and zucchini can cascade over the edge of a pot, making a lovely green edible garden even with very little space.
  • Give yourself a schedule for watering, weeding and feeding your veggies every week. They need you! And having a routine when things feel loosy-goosy at home is a mental health saver!
  • Enjoy the satisfaction of seeing something you have put your energy and positivity into, grow and thrive despite whatever is happening around you.

There is simply no roadmap for what is happening in the world right now. We are charting new territory. It’s sometimes scary, and upsetting, and sometimes inspiring. One thing is for sure though, the effects of staying inside constantly can be toxic. Be sure to step out and breath deeply. The beauty that you find outdoors and to connect with your garden can offer you the gift of inspiration, rejuvenation and optimism. Be well!

Now, let’s go out and get our hands dirty!

What’s in the Garden Pro’s Tool Kit?

There are few things more irritating than being waist deep in a giant, twisted rosemary bush—or worse, rose—discovering that a whole 3/4” diameter branch has died off, and realizing that you didn’t bring your ratchet pruners. So instead of using the proper tool, you try gnawing it off with your standard clippers. It takes twice as long, and leaves a jagged stump. It’s not pretty. What you should have had with you is the Garden Pro’s Tool Kit!

When I design a garden I’m crossing all my fingers and toes that the client will also hire my team to maintain it . I cannot overemphasize the importance of good maintenance. It’s as much a part of the art of landscape design as it is the function of it. This is why my kit and the kit of everyone on the team is filled to the brim with not just necessities, but handy little conveniences too. This way we keep the gardens looking just as I envisioned them in the design, and keep our sanity too.

Every Landscape Pro’s Tool Kit will have some of the same equipment. But for every individual there is a different recipe for getting the job done with ease. If you plan on spending a lot of time cheering on those plants and trying to get them to behave, here’s what you need, now!

Every garden pro’s tool kit needs…

Garden Tools
My Felco Clippers are a must!

Your favorite pair of clippers. Mine are a pair of Felcos that are about 12 years old. Like a great pair of jeans this tool seems to mold right into only my hand. Keep them oiled and clean them after each use. Spraying a bit of alcohol on the blades prevents spreading disease.

Garden tools
Turf cutters have dozens of uses in the garden

Turf cutter referred to by my son as the “Death Stick”. It’s a great one for the tool kit that is often overlooked. Good for turf but also, there simply is nothing better when reducing the diameter of any strappy plant. You can use your free hand to select a section and then dive right in to the base to go just below the soil line and get a clean cut. Warning: watch out for drip lines and fingers! It will ruin you if you miss.

My other go-to is a hori hori. I barely leave the house without this one. It has so many uses, and if you don’t have one yet it’s a must for your next purchase. You can use it for dividing, cutting, digging, planting, seeding, opening compost bags and, of course, looking super-cool.

Discovering ratchet pruners was like having dark clouds part and the sun pour down on me! I received them as a gift and thought, “that’s nice”. But once I discovered their magic I was won over. Sometimes you really need to cut a substantial branch but don’t have the room for loppers. Ratchet pruners can handle up to 3/4” but I’ve surely cut up to a full inch.

Battery Powered Blower I am four-square against the big gasoline blowers and in most residential gardens they are 100% not necessary. The small Toro blowers that have a rechargeable battery are perfect for clearing off walkways and they don’t suffocate us all with their fumes. If you are doing more than one property, either bring your charger or a back-up battery for longer use.

Large Items

Pole pruners
Pruning scissors
Short ladder

Super Handy Small Stuff

Green landscape tape
Screw driver
Soil moisture probe
Irrigation flags
Extra Drip tubing
Drip tubing connectors and T’s
Drip tubing staples
Multi-tool (Swiss Army Knife)

Save Yourself Necessities

Lip balm
Sun screen
Heavy duty cream for dry hands
Hat with wide brim (not a baseball cap)
Knee pads
2 pairs of gloves (in case one gets wet or…otherwise “soiled”)
Large refillable insulated water bottle—no PET bottles, they get hot and gross anyway
Granola bar or banana, some kind of quick energy for when you bonk from working in the sun too long

How to Carry it all

It’s best to have wheels so you don’t have to lug it everywhere. Sometimes you have to cover some pretty significant obstacles to get your tools to their final destination. Either way, always choose the smallest one that comfortably carries everything you need. Some recommendations:
Paint bucket from a Hardware Store
Bucket with pockets on the outside
Case with rollers
Hip toolbelt for the 4 or 5 items you use constantly (clippers, hori hori, turf cutter, twine for me)

The trick in having the absolute best Garden Pro’s Tool Kit is to remember to occasionally take inventory. Sometimes you wind up with items you find you really don’t ever need or struggle to make due without things you do.

I guarantee, you will be a better, more professional Landscape Specialist with a solid kit that you can rely on to get the job done right every time.

Let me know what else you put in your toolkit!

Product Review: Hyperowl Garden Grafting Tool


I first saw an ad for the Hyperowl Garden Grafting Tool on Instagram about six months ago. People have been talking about how great Insta’s ad targeting is but I had simply never seen it. They’d been feeding me ads for cosmetics—hilarious because I only occasionally wear mascara—so those ads get no traction with me. But this one I kept coming back to.

I had never even once attempted to graft a tree! But this nifty tool had me mesmerized, dreaming of the magical fruit concoctions that I could create. Demonstrating the perfect puzzle notch cutting feature, I was simply Wowed! I needed to know more!

One of my Gardening Specialists had been doing quite a bit of grafting recently so I quickly sent her a link to inform her of this wonder-tool. To which she promptly informed me that she had been using this tool for over a year. So, I set aside some time for an interview with Jana.

a conversation with jana: about the Hyperowl grafting tool

Natalie: You’ve been grafting fruit trees for a while now. Have you ever done any grafting with a different tool prior to using the Hyperowl?  

Jana: I’ve been grafting for about three years now so considering you have to wait for a while to see whether your effort was a success, that’s not a long time. That said, I’m definitely planning continue on the bumpy road of manipulating nature. I started out using a grafting knife, which certainly challenges a person’s mental endurance, since you’re often holding that very sharp knife in heart-attack inducing positions. It was bad enough when I practiced on cut branches, but became truly challenging when working up in a tree, balancing on a ladder, holding the grafting tape in my mouth and being poked by a branch in both eyes. Then, I joined the California Rare Fruit Growers organization and attended their annual graft exchange. That’s when they presented the grafting tool that would make my life much easier.

Natalie: That sounds completely treacherous! So when you started using the Hyperowl Garden Grafting Tool instead of a knife, in addition to reducing the dangers, did you find it to be sturdy?

Jana: The tool is well made, lightweight and works effectively. It is very important to spray the blades with a bleach solution between cuts so that you don’t end up spreading disease between grafts and trees. Because I do that after every single cut, the metal blade is a little rusty, which doesn’t bother me at all. 

Natalie: Do you feel like it gives you a clean cut? Do the notches fit together perfectly?

Jana: It cuts well and the cuts are clean. To make a complementary cut, you simply turn the tool, therefore the cuts match perfectly as long as the circumference of the graft matches the circumference of the receiving branch closely. You want as much contact as possible between their respective cambium layers (the thin green layer right under the outer bark) for the best possible success rate. The only challenge for me is to center the receiving branch so that the cut is even on both sides, especially when the branch is quite thin. It is easier to achieve an even placement of the cut on the graft, since you’re holding the graft in your hand. Ideally, there should be a centering mechanism or visual aid to help center the cut. That would be my main suggestion if the manufacturer wanted a tip on how to improve the tool.

Natalie: Do you use the cellophane that they provided or something different?  Are there any other ways that you’ve modified how you use this tool compared with the way it was intended?

Jana: I like to use Parafilm instead (available online), it’s more stretchy and adheres to itself more readily, which is a desirable trait when trying to achieve a good seal. Also, three different attachments are provided to create a different shape of cuts, but I picked one that seems to be working best for me and I don’t bother switching them.

a conversation with jana: about grafting

Natalie: What types of trees have you grafted with it.  Are any types more successful than others?

Jana: I have grafted citrus, apple, apricot, pomegranate, persimmon and avocado. Citrus, was the most successful with this tool. I want to mention it’s crucial to get citrus graft material from Citrus Clonal Protection Program (CCPP). The program of University of California Riverside offers grafts free from citrus greening disease (aka Huanglongbing or HLB disease) a quickly spreading, fatal disease for citrus trees. CCPP offers an incredible selection of grafts for very reasonable prices. I also grafted apple (90% success), apricot (90%), pomegranate (50%) and avocado (so far so… not good). It’s also possible to graft various fruit onto one tree, as long as they are closely related. I recently successfully grafted plum onto apricot, as well as several different crosses like plumcot, aprium and nectaplum onto my apricot tree.  

Natalie: How successful would you say your grafts are with this tool vs. with the grafting knife?

When a fat bird sits on your graft.

Jana: There are many factors at play when it comes to grafting success. The quality of the graft, the time of year, the grafting technique, and how fat the birds are that land on your new graft. Fruit trees require different individual grafting techniques. Citrus trees and persimmons, warrant bud grafting, in which a grafting knife must be used. You cut a T shape in the bark of the receiving branch, peel the bark to expose the cambium layer and then insert the bud into the space. Despite having an extensive theoretical knowledge of the technique, my success rate on that one was zero.

The next best method for citrus is the Z cut method, which also requires the use of a grafting knife. A series of heat waves followed my grafting spree. The rate of success on that one was about 10%. Then I attempted to graft citrus with the Hyperowl and the success rate was about 20%. Not amazing but much better than using the other methods. Here is a note of caution when using the Z cut method on citrus. Your arms will look like a mountain lion used you as a scratching post. Using this tool it’s more like you had a play date with a rambunctious house cat. When I used the Hyperowl on apple and apricot trees, the success rate was about 90%. It made the process infinitely faster and more convenient—no animal analogies required.

final word

I really enjoyed getting this information from Jana about grafting. Although I spend most of my waking hours in gardens, designing them, visiting them and writing about them, grafting is something that I’ve never really delved into before now. The challenge excites me and the discovery of this tool has me ready to dive in head first.

What about you? Are you an experienced grafter? If so, let me know what your favorite methods are. And if not, what do you think? Will you give it a try?

Good luck!


the Truth about plant death

I’ve got some cold, hard truths for you today. There’s no point in beating around the bush about it (pun intended) so I’m just going to say it. You ready?…Plants die. That’s right. It’s a grim fact and no one escapes the carnage. If you tend to plants, you will kill plants. If you think that’s rough, keep in mind that when you design or maintain gardens for others, you will kill their plants too.

Ouch! I know. But sometimes you just have to rip the band-aid off.

Who Kills Plants?

Everyone! If you want to know why plants are dying, here’s the thing, plants die for those with the proverbial “green thumb” and those with a “brown thumb”. No matter the color of your digits, no matter how much you pay attention to, or ignore them, they are living entities that have a cycle of life and death. Some impress us with their long liv-ed-ness and others seem to kick the bucket even before we’ve put our tools away after planting them. And others have a little help from the creatures and critters that share the space.

There’s nothing to be ashamed of. Even the best gardeners kill plants although they might make it seem otherwise. Those “plant whisperers”, have probably killed at least as many as they have nurtured to great beauty. In fact, you know what makes them so great at keeping beautiful plants? It’s in fact, because they’ve killed so many. The key is that each time one doesn’t survive, you learn something new about it. Perhaps the Sunset book said sun to part shade and you discover that, whoops! Not so happy with the shade part in that equation. Lesson learned.

My Plant Graveyard

Many years ago, I went to a course for Mediterranean garden design. The instructor was world famous in her field. Yet, of all the information that she shared the thing that really stuck was that she kept a very special planter in her garden. One that contained the markers for each of the plants that she had killed. Hundreds of them! She called it her plant graveyard and said, “If you’re not killing some plants, you’re just not trying hard enough”. She inspired me to be brave. I learned that when I’m not afraid of killing plants, I’m able to be way more creative in trying new ones. What a gift, not just for me but for my clients!

In an effort to embrace the truth, I created my own Plant Graveyard. I even performed a tiny little ceremony. Ok, not a ceremony per se, but when each new tag was placed in my horticultural place of repose, I’d take a moment and reflect on where I may have gone wrong. What signs did I miss that could have prevented this tragic outcome. Was I too neglectful? Did I smother it with too much…water, pruning love etc? It helped.

Understanding the life cycle of plants helped me become a more mindful gardener; also, a more mindful designer. And you can too. Some plants just aren’t meant for longevity. It’s helpful to know that before putting them in a garden.

What else can be learned from dying plants

Ok, now that you’re settling in to the idea of plant mortality, let’s dive into the nitty gritty of why plants die. Here’s the very important, key information about plant death: although we simply cannot prevent them all, we can definitely be vigilantes to defend the gardens we protect. There are a handful of the most pervasive culprits that with knowledge and a good checklist we can guard against.

Some dangers are obvious. Some very sneaky. Here’s what you should look for, and how to defeat the offenders. Having a plant graveyard is fine, but let’s save as many botanical souls as we can*.

Dying plant causes
Dying plant causes
Dying plant causes
Dying plant causes

*I have purposely not included plant diseases and pests in this post. They certainly are villains in the garden, however, they comprise a completely separate and unique topic which extends beyond our scope here. We will discuss in a later post.

SEASONAL SPECIAL: It’s a zillion degrees! When should I water?

You’ve seen it before at this time of year. Those dry crispy leaves on your favorite plant. The drooping blooms on a Salvia leucantha. Damage from the sun and heat make gorgeous plants look so sad and sorry. In Southern California, the temperatures in July, August and September can soar past the 90’s and into 100’s where there they sit, oppressively, for weeks on end. Without the mercy of our “June Gloom” it’s not hard to see which plants can take the heat.

Regardless, of the plants in the garden, the question I get asked most often at this time of year, is “When can I water my plants in this heat?” It’s a super important question to get right, so let’s dive right in:


Definitely no. This is a terrible time to water when temperatures are high. Even in the 80’s you’re really not getting much bang for your watering buck anyway.

There are 2 main problems with watering during the day. First and foremost, the water will evaporate before any of it gets to it’s destination—the roots. No matter how long you stand there with a hose or run those sprays, the process of absorption simply takes time. Sometimes, people believe that in order to prevent the water from evaporating they should apply extra water. This is like trying to put 2 gallons of water in a 1 gallon jug. The water will simply run off into the street or drains because the soil can’t absorb the water fast enough.

The second reason watering during the day is a poor choice is that plants and all of their parts absorb heat all day long. The leaves get hot, as do the roots and the soil around them. As water is applied and makes contact with the hot leaves or roots, it essentially fries them causing burns which cannot be undone. Think about how you might check to see if a pan is hot enough on the stove. When you sprinkle water on it, what’s the reaction? SIZZLE! Same goes for plants.


Yes, but. There are some who say that evening watering on high heat days is preferred. I consider evening watering the second best of the three options. The reason given for evening watering is that it gives much more time for the soil to absorb the water during the cooler nights making it more effective. This is a valid. The longer the water has to be absorbed deeper and deeper into the soil for the roots to benefit from it the better.

With daytime watering almost no water is absorbed and morning watering offers less time than evening. I find in my climate in Pasadena CA, however that at this time of year, the temperatures stay very high well past sundown. Evening watering therefore, is still applying water to very hot plants in very hot soil which is not optimal for them. The other concern for watering at night, particularly if you’re using a hose or overhead sprays, is that water sits on the plants and gets trapped in leaf joints. If temperatures are cool enough you could be inviting some unwanted disease and mold to take hold.

If you do need to take care of watering in the evening, make it as late as possible once the temperatures have cooled significantly, and try to water low so as not to leave wet plants.


Morning watering—early morning watering—is really the best. Some sources will say that you should water by 10am. Not sure about your particular region, but in the middle of summer, if you’re watering at 10am you might as well be trying to water the sun.

With an automatic controller the ideal time is around 4am. The temps are cool, the plants and soil are cool, and you have several hours before the heat really kicks in, allowing the water to be absorbed into the soil. Also, if you have overhead sprays, you won’t run into trouble with water hanging around on the plants for so long that it starts causing disease.

If you’re a hand waterer, well, set that alarm. I’d say no later than around 6am. Maybe 7, latest. I’m not a morning person myself, but it’s well worth the effort to keep those plants healthy.


Last note about watering in the summer months. Be sure to do an evaluation of your irrigation system. Check for nicks or tears in your drip tubing. It causes lots of water to escape in one area and starve the other areas beyond the cut. Check for broken or bonky spray nozzles that aren’t doing their jobs as well as they should. An undetected problem in your irritation system will invariably lead to excess water waste (and higher bills).

With these tips you will be keeping that garden looking spectacular all summer long!

If you are unsure how well your irrigation is working and live in Pasadena or the surrounding cities, contact my office to schedule a full irrigation analysis. 818-903-5122