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Be a better bug sleuth with free workshop

Sacramento's Bug Man, Baldo Villegas, kicks off Orangevale Grange series

Baldo Villegas holding pink roses
Baldo Villegas is a retired state entomologist and a rose expert, too.
(Photo courtesy Baldo Villegas)
Get more out of gardening (and get answers, too) during a summer series of educational workshops, hosted by the new Orangevale Farm and Garden Club.

Part of the Orangevale Grange, Orangevale’s newest garden club started recently as a Facebook group, which already has more than 300 members. At 9 a.m. on the first Saturday of each month, the club will host a one-hour workshop at the Grange,  5807 Walnut Ave. in Orangevale. Everyone is welcome to these in-person events. Admission is free.

Kicking off the summer series will be Sacramento’s Bug Man, Baldo Villegas. A retired state entomologist, Villegas also is a rose expert with more than 3,000 bushes in the ground at his Orangevale home.

At 9 a.m. Saturday, June 5, Villegas will discuss one of his favorite topics: “Identifying and Diagnosing Insect Problems in the Garden.” This workshop is designed for both novice and experienced gardeners.

Any gardener can be a better bug sleuth. Villegas will show how to determine what’s eating your plants and suggest ways to cut down on that destruction without pesticides.

Coming up are workshops on drip irrigation and soil building.

On July 3, Justin Eubank of ACE Hardware will present “ACEing Your Way through Drip Irrigation.” This workshop will come in handy for anyone considering converting their landscape to drip irrigation, an important water-saving tool – especially during drought. Drip irrigation puts water where plants need it most – at the roots.

On Aug. 7, environmental educator Julie Barbour will explain, “When Plants Harmonize with the Soil.” An expert in integrated pest management, Barbour will discuss how plants and soil work together. When that important relationship is healthy, so are the plants – and the soil – with fewer pest problems and more drought tolerance.

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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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