November Tips & Events for Santa Clara County
"Love the trees until their leaves fall off, then encourage them to try again next year.”  Chad Sugg
From California Garden Web website
As people tried to protect their lungs from particulate matter in the smoke from the California fires, they asked about possible harm to their plants. It is true that these same particles can clog the plant stomata (“pores”), basically making it difficult for the plants to breathe. The particulate pollution can also coat the leaves, reducing photosynthesis through which the plant makes its own food. If plants appear dusty, you can reduce the physical effects of the particulate matter by rinsing off your plants with a hose.

Photo: California Garden Web, Landscaping for Fire Protection
Fire defensible space landscaping guidelines
Fire Safe Landscaping
There are steps you can take in your landscaping that might help protect your home and property. Clear brush around your house that might otherwise help a fire spread. Avoid high oil content plants like eucalyptus and juniper. And try planting succulents that hold more moisture inside. 

Photo: i bid
Nymph of the harlequin bug, Murgantia histrionica (Hahn). Photograph by James Castner, University of Florida.
Pretty Bugs
The beauty of a bug isn’t a clue to its usefulness in the garden. One attractive pest is the harlequin bug. This pest sucks on plant juices and can cause splotching of leaves and wilting of plants. It feeds on cool weather crops like cabbage, kale, and mustard. Handpicking the bugs and eggs and removing old plant material are good controls.

Photo:  Nymph of the harlequin bug , Murgantia histrionica . By James Castner, University of Florida
From UC Edible Campus website (
Can those bales of straw or hay that were used as Halloween decorations be recycled into your garden? Absolutely. It makes great mulch and can be used around plants to moderate soil temperature or used to cover a fallow area over the winter. It guards against weeds and erosion. It breaks down slowly, adding organic matter to the soil and feeding the beneficial organisms living in the soil. 

It seems we’re barely out of summer, yet the average first frost date in parts of Santa Clara County is as early as November. You may want to be prepared in advance so you—or, more importantly, your plants—don’t get hit by surprise. Some protective measures you can have ready are row covers, old cloth sheets, and space under the eaves for potted plants. 

Photo: Row covers in White House Garden, USDA website
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Upcoming Events
Sat, Nov 04, 10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.,  Glorious Grasses for Your Garden , Palo Alto Demonstration Garden, 851 Center Drive,  Palo Alto

Sat, Nov 04, 2:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.,  Gardening in Containers , Program Room, Sunnyvale Public Library, 665 W Olive Ave,  Sunnyvale

Mon, Nov 06, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.,  Choosing the Best Indoor Plants , Morgan Hill Library, 1480 East Main Ave,  Morgan Hill

Tue, Nov 07, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.,  Growing Vegetables in Containers , Gilroy Library, 350 W 6th St,  Gilroy

Sat, Nov 11, 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.,  Plant Perennials Now! , Guadalupe River Park Conservancy Visitor & Education Center, 438 Coleman Ave,  San Jose

Sat, Nov 11, 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.,  A Discussion about Rain Gardens , Martial Cottle Park, UC Master Gardener Parcel, 5283 Snell Ave,  San Jose

Tue, Nov 14, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.,  Gardening in Containers , Saratoga Library, 13650 Saratoga Ave,  Saratoga

Wed, Nov 15, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.,  Winter Fruit Tree Pruning , Milpitas Library, 160 North Main Street,  Milpitas

Thu, Nov 16, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.,  Starting a Home Orchard with Bareroot Fruit Trees , Rinconada Library, 1213 Newell Road,  Palo Alto

Sat, Nov 18, 11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.,  The UC Davis Arboretum All-Star 100: Beautiful, Easy, Low Water Plants , Berryessa Branch Library, 3355 Noble Avenue,  San Jose
Visit the UC Master Gardener Program website  for additional information including an up-to-date list of events and classes .

Have a gardening question? Contact our Hotline (for Santa Clara County residents). Start by reviewing our plant  problem diagnosis tips .
  • Mon-Fri 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m., 408-282-3105
  • Fri ONLY 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m., 650-329-1356 (Closed Dec. & Jan.)
  • Or send us your question online

The University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Santa Clara County Master Gardener Program volunteers are trained under the auspices of the UCCE. Our mission is to promote sustainable gardening practices by providing up-to-date, research-based horticultural information to home gardeners.

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