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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Feb. 27

Dry weather continues at least a few more days

Camellia
Fertilize camellias after they finish blooming. This is Camellia sasanqua 'Showa-No-Sakae.' (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

Will March bring us a drought-busting miracle?

Sacramento’s record rainless streak continues. Although thunderstorms this past week dropped a few sprinkles, it was not enough to be “measurable precipitation” on Downtown Sacramento’s official rain meter. We haven’t had “real” rain since Jan. 7 and that was merely a drizzle.

Normally, January and February combine for about 7.2 inches of rain. So far in 2022, we’ve had 0.05 inches.

According to the National Weather Service, our dry spell may finally end this week – as a new month begins. Wednesday evening has a 30% chance of showers.

Otherwise, the forecast for the week ahead is mostly sunny, with a return to the low 70s by Monday. Enjoy this good gardening weather and get to work!

* Deep water fast-growing shrubs and perennials. Camellias could use a drink, too.

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

* If aphids are attracted to new growth, knock them off with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap.

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

* Start preparing 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 help corral blossom blight.

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

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and cole family plants, such as cabbage, broccoli, collards and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground. (Germination tip: Soak the beet seeds first!)

* Before the mercury starts inching upward, this is your last chance to plant such annuals as pansies, violas and primroses.

* 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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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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