More dry days ahead during unseasonably warm week
|This Sun Flare floribunda rose apparently thinks it's spring, but it too needs to be pruned. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)|
Great weather for gardening; not so good for drought watchers.
Our warm, dry streak continues with almost a week full of days in the 70s – and no rain in sight. According to the National Weather Service, Sacramento can expect sunny afternoons in the low 70s and overnight lows right around 40 degrees. Although those lows are normal, the highs are more than 10 degrees above average for early February.
Sacramento may even set some record highs this week, says the weather service. Sacramento’s all-time hottest day in February: 76 degrees. In addition, little fog is in the forecast.
Take advantage of this warm spell and get your garden ready for an early spring:
* This is the last chance to spray fruit trees before they bloom. Treat peach and nectarine trees with copper-based fungicide. Spray apricot trees at bud swell to prevent brown rot. Apply horticultural oil to control scale, mites and aphids on fruit trees soon after a rain. But remember: Oils need at least 24 hours to dry to be effective.
* Finish pruning roses even if they’re still blooming.
* Feed spring-blooming shrubs and fall-planted perennials with slow-release fertilizer.
* Feed mature trees and shrubs after spring growth starts.
* Remove aphids from blooming bulbs with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap.
* Fertilize strawberries and asparagus.
* Transplant or direct-seed snapdragons, candytuft, lilies, astilbe, larkspur, Shasta and painted daisies, stocks, bleeding heart and coral bells.
* Transplant cabbage, broccoli, kale and lettuce (both loose leaf and head).
* Indoors, start peppers, tomatoes and eggplant from seed.
* Plant artichokes, asparagus and horseradish from root divisions.
* Plant potatoes from tubers and onions from sets (small bulbs). The onions will sprout quickly and can be used as green onions in March.
* From seed, plant beets, chard, lettuce, mustard, peas, radishes and turnips.
* Plant summer-flowering bulbs including cannas, calla lilies and gladiolus.
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For week of Nov. 26:
Concentrate on helping your garden stay comfortable during these frosty nights – and clean up all those leaves!
* Irrigate frost-tender plants such as citrus in the late afternoon. That extra soil moisture increases temperatures around the plant a few degrees, just enough to prevent frost damage. The exception are succulents; too much water before frost can cause them to freeze.
* Cover sensitive plants before the sun goes down. Use cloth sheets or frost cloths, not plastic sheeting, to hold in warmth. Make sure to remove covers in the morning.
* Use fall leaves as mulch around shrubs and vegetables. Mulch acts as a blanket and keeps roots warmer.
* Stop dead-heading; let rose hips form on bushes to prompt dormancy.
* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs.
* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storing for the winter.
* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and primroses.
* Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location – and definitely indoors overnight. Water thoroughly. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they’ll bloom again next December.
* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.
* Plant spring bulbs. Don’t forget the tulips chilling in the refrigerator. Daffodils can be planted without pre-chilling.
* This is also a good time to seed wildflowers and plant such spring bloomers as sweet peas, sweet alyssum and bachelor buttons.
* Plant trees and shrubs. They’ll benefit from fall and winter rains while establishing their roots.
* Set out cool-weather annuals such as pansies and snapdragons.
* Lettuce, cabbage and broccoli also can be planted now.
* Plant garlic and onions.
* Bare-root season begins now. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb.
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