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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 Nov. 26:

Concentrate on helping your garden stay comfortable during these frosty nights – and clean up all those leaves!

* Irrigate frost-tender plants such as citrus in the late afternoon. That extra soil moisture increases temperatures around the plant a few degrees, just enough to prevent frost damage. The exception are succulents; too much water before frost can cause them to freeze.

* Cover sensitive plants before the sun goes down. Use cloth sheets or frost cloths, not plastic sheeting, to hold in warmth. Make sure to remove covers in the morning.

* Use fall leaves as mulch around shrubs and vegetables. Mulch acts as a blanket and keeps roots warmer.

* Stop dead-heading; let rose hips form on bushes to prompt dormancy.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs.

* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storing for the winter.

* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and primroses.

* Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location – and definitely indoors overnight. Water thoroughly. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they’ll bloom again next December.

* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.

* Plant spring bulbs. Don’t forget the tulips chilling in the refrigerator. Daffodils can be planted without pre-chilling.

* This is also a good time to seed wildflowers and plant such spring bloomers as sweet peas, sweet alyssum and bachelor buttons.

* Plant trees and shrubs. They’ll benefit from fall and winter rains while establishing their roots.

* Set out cool-weather annuals such as pansies and snapdragons.

* Lettuce, cabbage and broccoli also can be planted now.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* Bare-root season begins now. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb.

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