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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 June 4:

Because of the comfortable weather, it’s not too late to set out tomato and pepper seedlings as well as squash and melon plants. They’ll appreciate this not-too-hot weather. Just remember to water.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, melons, squash and sunflowers.

* Plant basil to go with your tomatoes.

* Transplant summer annuals such as petunias, marigolds and zinnias.

* It’s also a good time to transplant perennial flowers including astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia, salvia and verbena.

* Let the grass grow longer. Set the mower blades high to reduce stress on your lawn during summer heat. To cut down on evaporation, water your lawn deeply during the wee hours of the morning, between 2 and 8 a.m.

* Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladiolus and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.

* Dig and divide crowded bulbs after the tops have died down.

* Feed summer flowers with a slow-release fertilizer.

* Mulch, mulch, mulch! This “blanket” keeps moisture in the soil longer and helps your plants cope during hot weather.

* Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.

* Cut back fruit-bearing canes on berries.

* Feed camellias, azaleas and other acid-loving plants.

* Trim off dead flowers from rose bushes to keep them blooming through the summer. Roses also benefit from deep watering and feeding now. A top dressing of aged compost will keep them happy. It feeds as well as keeps roots moist.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushier plants with many more flowers in September.

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