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Got mulch? It's free Saturday, but move quickly

'Mulch Mayhem' open to Sacramento County residents

Wod chip mulch
Mulch prevents evaporation of soil moisture and helps keep weeds under control.
(Photo: Kathy Morrison)

Grab a shovel and a container or tarp, and prepare to haul away free mulch Saturday morning during "Mulch Mayhem,"  hosted by water providers in Sacramento County.

Starting at 8 a.m. Saturday, and until noon or until the mulch is gone, customers of three area water providers can collect up to 1 yard of mulch, about equivalent to the amount that would fit in the back of a pickup truck. (Trailers, back of your SUV, buckets in the truck -- whatever you have, be ready to haul it away.)

The providers and locations for mulch pickup are:

-- Carmichael: Carmichael Water District, 7837 Fair Oaks Blvd., Carmichael. Info: (916) 483-2452 or

-- Sacramento: Sacramento Suburban Water District Facility, 917 Enterprise Drive, Sacramento. Info: (916) 972-7171 or

-- Sacramento: City of Sacramento, South Area Corporation Yard Parking Lot, 5730 24th St., Sacramento

Info: (916) 808-5605 or

The mulch is for personal use only and cannot be sold or used for commercial sites.

Why are water districts giving away mulch? Easy answer: Mulching the garden prevents moisture loss, allowing the gardener to use less water to keep everything alive.

For more water-saving tips, visit

-- Kathy Morrison


Bonus post: What did you see in your garden today that you've never seen before?

Gardeners love to spend time in the garden, especially because it can be full of surprises. We want to share what you're seeing!

Example: The insect at left was my morning garden surprise, a cicada that had recently emerged from its old exoskeleton (which is underneath it, attached to a grow bag in my backyard). The cicada seemed to be adjusting to its new form, holding still while I snapped photos. It was gone a few hours later.

Got a garden surprise to share? It can be a plant, leaf, flower, insect or something else that made you say, "Wow, look at that!" Send your name, city, a brief (2 or 3 sentences) description and a clear digital photograph to with Garden Surprise in the subject line. We'll publish them as time allows; anonymous submissions will not be published.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 19:

Spring will start a bit soggy, but there’s still plenty to do between showers:

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* Watch out for aphids. Wash off plants with strong blast from the hose.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to fight blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees as they start to blossom.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.

* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.

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