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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 Sept. 25

This week's warm break will revive summer crops such as peppers and tomatoes that may still be trying to produce fruit. Pumpkins and winter squash will add weight rapidly.

Be on the lookout for powdery mildew and other fungal diseases that may be enjoying this combination of warm air and moist soil.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Plant for fall now. The warm soil will get cool-season veggies and flowers off to a fast start.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with "eyes" about an inch below the soil surface.

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