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Get ready for Mulch Mayhem

Local water providers offer free way to save more this fall

Sacramento Digs Gardening logo
Sacramento Digs Gardening
PUBLISHED SEP 9, 2021 2:56 P.M.
Plants with mulch  along a walkway
Mulch helps your plants make the most of available moisture while also cutting down on weeds. (Photo courtesy GardenSoft and Regional Water Authority)

Circle Saturday, Sept. 25, on your garden calendar. It’s Mulch Mayhem, a great way to help your plants and save water, too.

Sponsored by the Regional Water Authority and local water providers, this free event provides mulch just in time for fall planting. But get there early; Mulch Mayhem starts at 8 a.m and lasts until noon (or when all the mulch is gone).

According to irrigation and gardening experts, mulch slows evaporation, moderates soil temperature, beautifies landscapes and even controls weeds. As it breaks down, mulch also adds nutrients to the soil to help your plants grow.

Water-efficiency managers estimate that Sacramento-area residents can save 30 gallons of water for every 1,000 square feet of landscape, just by adding 2 to 3 inches of organic mulch around plants and 4 to 6 inches around trees. Organic mulch includes leaves, wood chips, straw, etc. – not rocks.

When mulching around trees or shrubs, make sure to leave about 6 inches of space around the trunk to avoid crown rot.

Available to customers of the participating water agencies, free mulch is limited to one cubic yard per customer (enough to fill a pickup truck) and must be for personal use only.

Mulch will be available on a first-come, first-served basis until supplies are gone. Customers are encouraged to bring their own shovels, containers, tarps or other items to cover the mulch in transport and must provide their own way to haul it away.

Contact your water provider for more details. (Not sure who your provider is? See .)

Here are the Mulch Mayhem participating sites.

Sacramento County

Sacramento Suburban Water District, Enterprise Site
917 Enterprise Drive, Sacramento
Hosted by Sacramento Suburban Water District
Details: 916-972-7171 or

Carmichael Water District
7837 Fair Oaks Blvd., Carmichael
Hosted by Carmichael Water District
Details: 916-483-2452 or

City of Sacramento South Area Corporation Yard
5730 24th St., Sacramento
Hosted by the City of Sacramento
Details: 916-808-5605 or

Placer County

Sierra College, Overflow Lot
Corner of Rocklin Road and El Don Drive (opposite the campus), Rocklin
Hosted by Placer County Water Agency and San Juan Water District
Details: 530-823-4850 or or
916-791-2663 or


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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Feb. 5

Make the most of sunny days and get winter tasks done:

* 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. Don’t spray during foggy weather or when rain is forecast.

* Feed spring-blooming shrubs and fall-planted perennials with slow-release fertilizer. Feed mature trees and shrubs after spring growth starts.

* Finish pruning roses and deciduous trees.

* Remove aphids from blooming bulbs with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap.

* Fertilize strawberries and asparagus.

* Transplant or direct-seed several flowers, including snapdragon, candytuft, lilies, astilbe, larkspur, Shasta and painted daisies, stocks, bleeding heart and coral bells.

* In the vegetable garden, plant Jerusalem artichoke tubers, and strawberry and rhubarb roots.

* Transplant cabbage and its close cousins – broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts – as well as lettuce (both loose leaf and head).

* 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.

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