Califonia Bountiful

Gardening Q&A

March/April 2021 California Bountiful magazine

As a California Bountiful reader, you have the opportunity to get your seasonal gardening questions answered by gardening expert Pat Rubin. Here are a few questions from our readers.

I have a question about climate zones. One book says I live in Zone 9 while another says I live in Zone 27. Which is correct?

Both. Zone 9 is your USDA zone and Zone 27 is the "Sunset Western Garden Book" zone. The Sunset zone system is quite a bit more detailed and takes into account more than just the last frost date or lowest average temperature. In fact, Zone 9 could and does cover some areas that only get down to low temperatures for a few hours; other areas in the same zone might have those same low temps for days or weeks on end. It's a guide.

I never got around to pruning my forsythia, and it's a tangled mess. Can I still prune it?

No, don't prune it now or you'll be cutting off all of this year's flowers. The time to prune spring-blooming shrubs such as forsythia is right after they bloom. Wait until this year's flowers are gone, and then give the bush a good pruning. First cut away any dead or crossing branches. Then step back and take a look. This might be all you need to do. Next, prune to shape the shrub or to keep it in bounds. When you're done, the plant should look as though it grew that way naturally.

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