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Find out which critter is eating your garden

Free workshop -- available via Zoom or in person -- offered by Placer County master gardeners

A vertebrate pest, such as this young raccoon,
can be a gardener's nemesis. (Photo by L. Fitzhugh,
courtesy UC Integrated Pest Management)

Ever wonder what’s eating your plants? How can you tell rat damage from raccoon foraging? And who’s digging all those holes?

Find out during a free workshop hosted by the UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Placer County.

Set for 10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 14, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner – An Integrated Strategy for the Management of Vertebrate Pests” will tackle the pesky problem of identifying hungry and destructive critters.

The one-hour program will be offered via Zoom as well as in person at Loomis Library, 6050 Library Drive, Loomis.

“You will learn various methods to protect your garden from vertebrate pest damage,” say the organizers. “We will review the effectiveness of different methods and teach you how to minimize harm to the environment, other critters and your family. Some of the pests we will cover include squirrels, gophers, moles, voles, rabbits, raccoons and skunks.”

Learn effective ways to outsmart voracious varmints and save your garden – without the use of poisons or harmful chemicals.

No advance registration is necessary, although pre-registration for the Zoom presentation is encouraged. Find full details and Zoom links at: .


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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Jan. 29

Bundle up and get work done!

* Prune, prune, prune. Now is the time to cut back most deciduous trees and shrubs. The exceptions are spring-flowering shrubs such as lilacs.

* Now is the time to prune fruit trees, except apricot and cherry trees. Clean up leaves and debris around the trees to prevent the spread of disease.

* Prune roses, even if they’re still trying to bloom or sprouting new growth. Strip off any remaining leaves, so the bush will be able to put out new growth in early spring.

* Prune Christmas camellias (Camellia sasanqua), the early-flowering varieties, after their bloom. They don’t need much, but selective pruning can promote bushiness, upright growth and more bloom next winter. Feed with an acid-type fertilizer. But don’t feed your Japonica camellias until after they finish blooming next month. Feeding while camellias are in bloom may cause them to drop unopened buds.

* Clean up leaves and debris around your newly pruned roses and shrubs. Put down fresh mulch or bark to keep roots cozy.

* Apply horticultural oil to fruit trees to control scale, mites and aphids. Oils need 24 hours of dry weather after application to be effective.

* This is also the time to spray a copper-based oil to peach and nectarine trees to fight leaf curl. Avoid spraying on windy days.

* Divide daylilies, Shasta daisies and other perennials.

* Cut back and divide chrysanthemums.

* Plant bare-root roses, trees and shrubs.

* Transplant pansies, violas, calendulas, English daisies, snapdragons and fairy primroses.

* In the vegetable garden, plant fava beans, head lettuce, mustard, onion sets, radicchio and radishes.

* Plant bare-root asparagus and root divisions of rhubarb.

* In the bulb department, plant callas, anemones, ranunculus and gladiolus for bloom from late spring into summer.

* Plant blooming azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons. If you’re shopping for these beautiful landscape plants, you can now find them in full flower at local nurseries.

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