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Pruning native shrubs? Small-space gardening? There's a class for that

Calendar is filling up with informational events

Yellow flower on flannelbush
California flannelbush is a spectacular native shrub. But how to prune it? The California Native Plant Society presents a webinar tonight on pruning natives.
(Photo: Kathy Morrison)

What do you want to learn? Which gardening situations do you want to understand better? There's so much information out there, but the trick is learning things that actually apply to our climate and our nearly year-round way of gardening. (Much of U.S. has gardens buried under snow right now.)

The region's garden calendars are suddenly packed with free opportunities to expand garden knowledge. Some are in person, others are online webinars. Here are a few coming up in the next couple weeks. Others we will flag as they get a little closer.

-- Native Gardening: Pruning 101. Move fast if you want to watch this one: It's tonight (Thursday, Feb. 3) at 5:30 p.m., presented by the California Native Plant Society. Expert landscape and educator Emerson Funes will go over tips and tricks for pruning native shrubs and perennials. Register here:

That CNPS webinars page has a list of other webinars scheduled monthly through May, with topics such as Aromatic Plants and Therapy Gardens. Links to recordings of past talks also are listed. A great resource.

-- Lettuce Unite! This seed library/seed-saving Zoom workshop is presented by the Placer County master gardeners. 1 to 2 p.m., this Saturday, Feb. 5. In case you missed Debbie's earlier post on this, here's the link to the post. The Placer County master gardeners are at

-- Gardening in Small Backyard Spaces. 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Feb. 9. This is a mid-week in-person workshop offered by the El Dorado County master gardeners. Master gardener Mike Pavlick will cover site location, design, raised bed options, container gardening and other methods that will allow anyone to have a vegetable garden in a small backyard setting. The workshop location is Cameron Park Community Center, 2502 Country Club Drive, Cameron Park.

For general information on the El Dorado County master gardeners' events and Sherwood Demonstration Garden, go to (Psst: They already have plant sales scheduled, on April 16 and 30.)

-- February Open Garden. The Sacramento County master gardeners will be back at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center for the second Open Garden of winter, 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Feb. 12. The fruit trees will be starting to bud, bulbs popping up, and the vegetable garden will be transitioning to spring. Bring your curiosity! FOHC is at 11549 Fair Oaks Blvd., Fair Oaks.

The next Open Garden after this one will be Saturday, March 12. In April, the Wednesday mid-week Open Garden will return after a long absence,  9 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, April 13. And May will feature two Open Gardens: Saturday, May 14, and Wednesday, May 18. The latter will be an "evening" event from 4 to 7 p.m. The Sacramento County master gardener website is

-- Citrus Tree Care in the Foothills. 10:30 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 12. Citrus can be a perplexing topic. This Zoom class from the Placer County master gardeners will cover the basics of selecting a tree, planting, irrigating, fertilizing, and pruning. No registration is necessary. The Zoom link is and the passcode is garden.

-- Urban and Community IPM Webinar. This free monthly series on integrated pest management continues noon to 1p.m. Thursday, Feb. 17, with "Bed Bug Prevention." Other topics coming up: "IPM for Subterranean Termites" on March 17 and "Squirrel Pest Management" on April 21. That latter one will be popular with backyard vegetable growers, I'm sure. Webinar registration and information is here:


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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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