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Gardening West of the Causeway. With Don Shor & Lois Richter. Davis climate and region. River floodplain ‘Mediterranean’ climate: rainy winter, dry summer. Mix of soil types, mostly mineral Annual grasses and oaks 17- 20” of annual rainfall 90 degree highs June - September

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with don shor lois richter

Gardening West of the Causeway

With Don Shor & Lois Richter

davis climate and region
Davis climate and region
  • River floodplain
  • ‘Mediterranean’ climate: rainy winter, dry summer.
  • Mix of soil types, mostly mineral
  • Annual grasses and oaks
  • 17- 20” of annual rainfall
  • 90 degree highs June - September
  • Delta breeze, coastal influence
  • Several frosts between Nov. - February.
hot summers

Hot summers

Average high July - August: 90 degrees

Many pleasant spells in the 80’s.

10 - 20 days over 100.

40+ degree temperature swings

Hottest ever: 117F.

Hottest spells usually early - mid July

Very low humidity from May - October

Delta breeze is our natural air conditioner!

Sunset Zone 14, USDA Zone 9.

cold wet winters

Cold, wet winters

First frost Thanksgiving, last frost Valentine’s

Some nights in mid-20’s

Lowest ever: 16F (1990 freeze)

Latest frost ever: early April

Significant freezes in 1990, 1998

Coldest spells usually mid - late December

Tule fogs November - January

Valley fog in December - early January

storms winter rain

Storms & winter rain

Typical storms form in Gulf of Alaska, move in through the delta south of us.

‘Pineapple express’ storms come across the warmer Pacific. Warmer, wetter.

Typical first rain around Hallowe’en

1/2” - 1” typical per cold front

Heaviest rainfall Dec. - February

Significant rainfall rare after mid-May

Flooding can occur after soil is saturated.

  • Prevailing winds from southwest are off the ocean, through the delta: help to moderate temperatures in the summer (‘delta breeze’)
  • Gusty winds from the north are off the land: dry and hot in summer, dry and cold in winter. Desiccate plants, break tree limbs.


Clay to sandy loams are typical.

Sandier loams close to creeks.

Denser clay loams on north, west.

No true ‘hardpan’, but a ‘plowpan’ in some areas.

Very low natural organic content.

Water penetrates slowly, runs off readily.

Soil naturally retains moisture: water slowly, deeply, infrequently.



Groundwater: water comes from wells.

High in dissolved salts: calcium, boron, and others.

High pH: water is alkaline.

Acid-loving plants have special needs.

Other plants may show nutrient deficiencies: iron, zinc.

what can we grow

What can we grow?

summer and winter vegetables, herbs

‘stone’ fruit trees: apricots, cherries, peaches and nectarines, plums

persimmons, pomegranates, figs

nut trees

cane berries


many subtropicals

perennial flowers

seasonal (annual) flowers

what plants have special needs

What plants have special needs?

‘Acid-loving’ plants require pH correction.

some plants are easy to overwater in heavy soil areas.

many apple varieties perform better with cooler autumns (and codling moth is a nuisance).

some subtropicals are marginal; truly tropical plants must be inside Nov. - March.

some high elevation or coastal plants can’t tolerate the long, hot, dry summer.