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School trees will get some help at SacTree event

Mulching morning at Smythe Academy needs volunteers

Young woman spreading wood chip mulch
Wood-chip mulch helps retain soil moisture and protects
a tree's roots. (Photo courtesy Sacramento Tree Foundation)

This Independence Day weekend, step up to help some local trees – and learn how to help your own trees, too.

On Saturday morning, July 3, the Sacramento Tree Foundation will host a Mulching Day at Smythe Academy, 2781 Northgate Blvd., Sacramento. Volunteers will be out in force from 8:45 a.m. to noon.

Participation is free, but volunteers should register in advance: .

These particular trees have special meaning, according to the foundation, because they’re school trees. Students enjoy their shade as well as learn about trees from these examples.

“School trees need our help to get through this hot, dry summer!” say the organizers. “Volunteer with us to mulch, stake, and care for young and mature trees that our children enjoy and learn from.”

SacTree experts will lead the mulching.

“All tools will be provided,” say the organizers. “Please bring a water bottle (and wear) closed-toed shoes, a hat, and work clothing. Wood chips contain dust and pollen that can irritate your respiratory system, so bring a mask to protect your lungs and sinuses.”

As for COVID protocols, non-vaccinated people should wear face masks, too. This is an outdoor activity with plenty of room for social distancing.

For details: .


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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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