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Learn about local mighty oaks

El Dorado County master gardeners offer free virtual workshop

Oak tree canopy from below
Learn more about our region's oak trees in a free Zoom workshop Saturday.
(Photo: Kathy Morrison)

Mighty oaks seem to be all around us. They’re the dominant native hardwood of the Sacramento Valley and Sierra foothills.

But which oak is which? How do you tell a live oak from a valley oak? What are the plusses of having an oak tree in your landscape? How do you keep an oak tree healthy and happy?

Learn a lot about native oaks during a special virtual workshop, “Oaks in El Dorado County.” Set for 9 a.m. Saturday, May 15, this free 90-minute class will be hosted by the UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of El Dorado County.

Long lived, native oaks form the backbone of the region’s ecosystem, as both habitat and food source. Naturally drought tolerant, oaks also offer advantages for low-water landscapes.

Master gardener Deborah Nicolls will lead the workshop, focusing on the oaks that are native not just to El Dorado County but much of the Sacramento region.

“Learn about the different oak species in the county, their function in our native environment, the problems they are prone to, and how to care for them,” according to the master gardeners’ website.

Registration is free, but required. You can sign up right until class time. Go to:
http://mgeldorado.ucanr.edu/Public_Education_Classes/ .

For more information and more virtual workshops: http://mgeldorado.ucanr.edu/

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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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