Q: I have recently moved here from the Midwest, where we winterize our trees and shrubs. Are there any steps I should take to protect my new landscaping job?--N.H., Corona
A: Winter can be hard on many shrubs and trees, even in mild-climate zones such as ours. Generally speaking, regular fertilizing helps plants build up reserves so that they can take the low temperatures. Wrapping material, which is sold in nurseries, protects the tender bark of newly planted trees not only from winter sunscald but from rodents and other pests that chew on it as well. Adding an extra layer of a mulch, about two inches deep, over the root zone of young trees and shrubs also is beneficial.
Q: Is there a cure for oak root fungus? Many trees in our area are lost every year to the disease. --D.W., Arcadia
A: There is no cure, but oak root fungus can often be held at bay. It thrives in moist environments, so avoid heavy watering around the trees. Water less frequently but more thoroughly, rather than giving plants frequent shallow irrigation. The life of an infected tree can be extended by taking soil away from around the crown and by removing all diseased portions of the bark.