TIPS FROM KNOWLEDGEABLE LOCALS
We are blessed to have some real expertise on our beloved Plateau to help us with planting and gardening tips, specific to our Santa Rosa Plateau micro-climate.
One of our local experts is Susan Frommer, who provides this tip for this winter’s very chilly weather:
“The question came up about chill factors for fruit trees. (Very) Generally speaking our Plateau does not get as cold in the winter as the areas down in the valley because cold air drains down hill. Also our topography is so varied that one neighbor can get freezing temps while another location not that far away seldom goes below 32 degrees F. So the best thing one can do is get an inexpensive thermometer and record the lows in the winter on YOUR property so you can estimate the chill hours below 45 degrees F. It is important to know this because if your location does not get adequate chill hours, the buds on the deciduous fruit trees will not “set” and you will get little or no fruit. Last winter was a perfect example. We had “summer in January” followed by a brief freeze just as things thought it was spring and safe to start growing. As a result, fruit production, at least on my trees, was low and what grew was much smaller than usual. So, for best production here, one needs to look for fruit tree varieties that are termed “low chill”. Purchase a copy of the Sunset Western Garden Book. There you will find the needed chill hours for many of the varieties of various fruit trees. This year should be better. We have had quite a few nights that got below 45 degrees F. so I am hoping for better fruit crops this summer. Just the fact that in SOME areas of the Plateau one can successfully grow avocados gives a clue that it doesn’t get that cold there. Same for bougainvillea and some citrus varieties. Hope this helps.”