Native to Southern California and other southern states of North America, as well as Central and South America, Agave plants are a unique plant that can provide many benefits with its existence, whether naturally occurring or newly planted.
One of the Agave's best characteristics is its ability to grow in dry conditions, making it perfect for xeriscape landscaping. 'Xeric' means drought tolerant and agaves are a welcome addition to any landscape in the arid conditions of Southern California.
Part of the monocot genus, agaves are distinctive with their succulent leaves forming rosette shapes. While they can look similar to aloe, which are also monocots, they are not closely related. Growing much larger and with more substantial thorns than aloe, agaves can be bright green to grey and silvery in color. They store water in their leaves and the leaves are fibrous with thorny teeth to protect them from being eaten. When they flower, they send off a tall, singular shoot, up to forty feet, with tubular blooms, pictured to the left.
Easy to take care of, agaves are super low maintenance. Their roots require air and water so they need good drainage, and can even do well in pots with a cactus or succulent soil mixture that has organic porous materials that helps trap air and keep the soil from suffocating the roots. They grow slowly, but once established, they are very hardy.
In addition to growing from seeds, most agaves produce 'pups' or young plants from runners. They are easy to propagate making them fun to grow.
Agave is edible and is used to make tequila, which is made from blue agave. Also harvested from agave is the syrup, a sweetener which is sweeter than sugar, requiring less for the same sweetness.
Adding agave is a natural choice for a Southern California garden. Having a variety of shapes and textures can make a xeriscape garden more visibly appealing and agave certainly delivers!
If you want help to plan your landscape project, let us help. We have experts in all areas of landscaping, and can handle projects any size. We also offer maintenance programs for commercial and private properties. Contact us today!
All over sunny California you can encounter colorful bursts of Bougainvillea waving hello. Bougainvillea is a is a genus of thorny ornamental vines, bushes, and trees originally coming from South America. This striking plant is perfect for our climate and can bloom almost all year around. They are drought tolerant and actually bloom more with less water!
The blooms can vary from white, to pink, orange, red, deep red and purple. While white isn't as common for some reason, the other colors are quite common and can even come in two colored varieties, like pink and orange, and with foliage that also has two shades of green. The blooms are actually colored leaves, called bracts, and the tiny, flowering centers are the actual flowers.
Bougainvillea does well in climates 9b-11. If you want to check what zone you are in you can with the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. If you are near frost zones, they don't like to be too cold, so plant near buildings for more shelter. They need at least 6 hours of sun a day to be happy plants. Bougainvilleas are wonderfully drought tolerant once established and do better with less water, resulting in more blooms, yay!
The incredible versatility of Bougainvilleas are that they can grow to 25 feet in different directions! Many people train them over fences and arbors, but they will grow over almost anything! They don't latch on like some vines, so they do need support and training to guide them where you want them to grow.
There are dwarf varieties too if you do not want to have one grow so big. They do have thorns, so be careful when pruning. They also have delicate roots so care when transplanting is key, do not disturb roots too much if possible. Transplanting once established is not recommended.
The beautiful pop of color they give can really add a nice touch to a garden, house, or commercial space. One of the easiest landscape additions to consider especially with all the color choices!
Need help with your landscaped space? Since 1988, Pacific Vista Landscape Services manages every aspect of landscaping maintenance and design. We provide innovative solutions to meet landscaping requirements and achieve water savings goals for commercial complexes, HOA's, resorts, industrial complexes, schools, and retail centers. Our team is comprised of:
Water conservation professionals
Certified landscaping technicians
Irrigation & sprinkler system managers
Certified arborists & tree trimming professionals
See what we can do for you! Contact Us!
Trees add value to your property and are a great investment when improving your landscape. Not only do they add immense beauty, fruit, flowers, shade and more, they also help clean the air that we breathe. Planting trees should be a priority for all communities. Choosing the right tree for your property depends on several different factors.
Luckily, the Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute located at Cal Poly in California, has a data base that will help you select the proper tree for your location and your needs. You can search the site by entering your zip code and the attributes of the tree that you want here: ufei.calpoly.edu/index.lasso
Planting Your Tree
Once you have selected the tree that is best for your property, it’s time to plant! Like everything else, there is a right way and a wrong way to do this. Following the correct planting steps is important to growing a healthy tree.
First, make sure you select the right location in your yard for your tree. Make sure the tree you are planting has plenty of room and will not outgrow its location. Then determine that the soil in which you are planting is compatible with the tree you have chosen. Also, make sure that your tree will have the right amount of sun and shade that is recommended for your particular type of tree.
Prepare a hole that is twice as wide as the root ball (some landscaping experts recommend a wider hole, up to three times as wide.) A wide hole will insure fast growth of the tree. The depth of the hole should be determined by the height of the root ball. The right depth will prevent settling.
Remove the plastic or wire basket and/or burlap from the root ball.
Add a starter fertilizer and fill around the root ball with the soil you removed for planting.
Deep water the tree, and water each day for seven days; then water twice a week for week two, and once a week afterwards.
Care and Feeding
It is important to know that mulching is very important to the health of your newly planted tree. Mulch acts to retain water, preventing the roots from drying out, and provide protection from the heat and cold. It keeps weeds away from the tree roots and prevents compaction of the soil around the tree. There are different types of mulch available.
For newly planted trees, water right after planting. Not enough water will damage a tree, but over-watering is harmful as well. The proper amount of watering can be determined by feeling the soil around the tree. The soil should be moist but not soggy. Allowing the soil to dry for a short time between waterings, is good for the tree because it allows the soil to oxygenate.
Consider a drip system with smart controller to efficiently water your newly planted tree and landscape, saving water and money. There are rebates available in many counties throughout California to help implement these systems.
After the first two years, the root structure of the tree should be well established and will not need the kind of monitoring that a newly planted tree requires.
Care must be taken when pruning newly planted trees because poor pruning can damage a tree for the rest of its life. The pruning of these young trees should be done to remove remove dead or broken branches. More aggressive pruning should wait until the tree is two to three years old.
Signs of a Healthy Tree
Is There New Growth: If you have had your tree for a year or more, there should be new growth appearing each year.
Check for Dead or Broken Branches: Since dead and broken branches invite insects and make the tree more susceptible to disease, they should be pruned off. Hint: If a branch is green underneath the bark when scraped with your fingernail, it is alive.
Check the Tree’s Bark: The bark should be intact. If it is loose or peeling, there is probably a problem. The truck should not have large cracks or holes and should be free of fungi.
Examine the Leaves: Leaves should be the appropriate color for the season. Wilting of the leaves indicate stress caused by too little or too much watering, or too much or too little sun. Evergreens should not have bare patches without needles, and deciduous trees should be full of leaves in the blooming season. Areas where leaves are missing can indicate damage or disease.
A proper tree care program will allow fluid growth patterns and wind penetration. This will condition your trees for long term healthy development. All of our pruning practices are based upon the International Society of Arboriculture industry standards.
Our Pacific Vista Landscape Service professionals will provide your property with a complete inventory of all trees and organize these trees on a multiple year tree care plan. We will place the trees on an appropriate plan to best suit a given species.
Contact us or call us today! 661-222-7525