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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 We'll publish them as time allows; anonymous submissions will not be published.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 Nov. 27

Before the rain comes later in the week, take advantage of sunny, calm days:

* This may be your last chance this season for the first application of copper fungicide spray to peach and nectarine trees. Leaf curl, which shows up in the spring, is caused by a fungus that winters as spores on the limbs and around the tree in fallen leaves. Sprays are most effective now, but they need a few days of dry weather after application to really “stick.” If you haven’t yet, spray now.

* Rake and compost leaves, but dispose of any diseased plant material. For example, if peach and nectarine trees showed signs of leaf curl this year, clean up under trees and dispose of those leaves instead of composting.

* Make sure storm drains are clear of any debris.

* Give your azaleas, gardenias and camellias a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim chrysanthemums to 6 to 8 inches above the ground after they’re done blooming. Keep potted mums in their containers until next spring. Then, they can be planted in the ground, if desired, or repotted.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while dormant.

* Plant bulbs for spring bloom. Don’t forget the tulips chilling in the refrigerator. Other suggestions: daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, anemones and scillas.

* Seed wildflowers including California poppies.

* Also from seed, plant sweet pea, sweet alyssum, bachelor buttons and other spring flowers.

* Plant most trees and shrubs. This gives them plenty of time for root development before spring growth. They also benefit from winter rains.

* Set out cool-weather annuals such as pansies and snapdragons.

* Lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and cool-season greens can be planted now.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* If you decide to use a living Christmas tree this year, keep it outside in a sunny location until Christmas week. This reduces stress on the young tree.

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