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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of June 13

Prepare for more triple-digit heat coming soon

Yellow sunflower with bees
Sunflowers are easy to grow in summer -- and the bees love them. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)



Make the most of a weekend in the 80s. More heat is on the way.

According to the National Weather Service, our cool break is over. Sacramento could see 103 degrees on Thursday. That will be followed by plenty of days in the 90s.

What did you expect? Summer is right around the corner.

* Deep-water shrubs and trees before the heat arrives. Check soil moisture. Make sure water reaches 6 inches deep.

* Weed, weed, weed! Pull out invasive plants before they flower and set seed. Be on the lookout for bindweed and nutsedge.

* Mulch, mulch, mulch! That will help retain moisture as well as smother weeds. Mulch keeps your plants’ roots comfortable on hot days, as well as cut down on work. For best results, spread 3 to 4 inches of wood chips, dried leaves, straw or other organic mulch (not rocks). Leave a 6-inch circle around trunks or main stems to avoid crown rot.

* From seed, plant beans, corn, melons, pumpkins, radishes, squash and sunflowers.

* Plant basil to go with your tomatoes.

* Add instant color to the garden with petunias, marigolds and zinnias.

* Transplant perennial flowers including astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia, salvia and verbena.

* Feed summer flowers with a slow-release fertilizer. Water before and after fertilizing.

* Dig and divide crowded daffodils and other bulbs after the tops have died down.

* Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.

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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Jan. 29

Bundle up and get work done!

* Prune, prune, prune. Now is the time to cut back most deciduous trees and shrubs. The exceptions are spring-flowering shrubs such as lilacs.

* Now is the time to prune fruit trees, except apricot and cherry trees. Clean up leaves and debris around the trees to prevent the spread of disease.

* Prune roses, even if they’re still trying to bloom or sprouting new growth. Strip off any remaining leaves, so the bush will be able to put out new growth in early spring.

* Prune Christmas camellias (Camellia sasanqua), the early-flowering varieties, after their bloom. They don’t need much, but selective pruning can promote bushiness, upright growth and more bloom next winter. Feed with an acid-type fertilizer. But don’t feed your Japonica camellias until after they finish blooming next month. Feeding while camellias are in bloom may cause them to drop unopened buds.

* Clean up leaves and debris around your newly pruned roses and shrubs. Put down fresh mulch or bark to keep roots cozy.

* Apply horticultural oil to fruit trees to control scale, mites and aphids. Oils need 24 hours of dry weather after application to be effective.

* This is also the time to spray a copper-based oil to peach and nectarine trees to fight leaf curl. Avoid spraying on windy days.

* Divide daylilies, Shasta daisies and other perennials.

* Cut back and divide chrysanthemums.

* Plant bare-root roses, trees and shrubs.

* Transplant pansies, violas, calendulas, English daisies, snapdragons and fairy primroses.

* In the vegetable garden, plant fava beans, head lettuce, mustard, onion sets, radicchio and radishes.

* Plant bare-root asparagus and root divisions of rhubarb.

* In the bulb department, plant callas, anemones, ranunculus and gladiolus for bloom from late spring into summer.

* Plant blooming azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons. If you’re shopping for these beautiful landscape plants, you can now find them in full flower at local nurseries.

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