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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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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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