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Get ready for Mulch Mayhem

Local water providers offer free way to save more this fall

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Sacramento Digs Gardening
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. 18:

It's wet to start the week. When you do get outside, between or after storms, concentrate on damage control:

* Keep storm drains and gutters clear of debris.

* Clean up tree debris knocked down by wind and rain.

* Where did the water flow in your garden? Make notes where revisions are necessary.

* Are any trees leaning? See disturbances in the ground or lawn around their base? Time to call an arborist before the tree topples.

* Dump excess water out of pots.

* Indoors, start peppers, tomatoes and eggplant from seed.

* Lettuce and other greens also can be started indoors from seed.

* Got bare-root plants? Put their roots in a bucket of water until outdoor soil dries out. Or pot them up in 1- or 5-gallon containers. In April, transplant the plant, rootball and all, into the garden.

* Browse garden websites and catalogs. It’s not too late to order for spring and summer.

* Show your indoor plants some love. Dust leaves and mist to refresh.

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