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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of April 25

Soggy Sunday followed by plenty of tomato-planting weather

Orange blossoms and bee
Orange blossoms are a good reminder to fertilize citrus trees now to help set fruit. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)



After record heat a week ago, April wraps up with a rapid cooldown – and a splash.

The high temperatures this weekend will be about 30 degrees lower than last Sunday, when Sacramento saw a record high of 91. Instead, this Sunday will be soggy – our first measurable rain since early March.

According to the National Weather Service, Sacramento can expect about a quarter-inch of rain Sunday – and that’s it for April. On average, Sacramento receives about 1.2 inches for this month.

Highs will be under 60 degrees Sunday, before quickly bouncing back into the 80s by Wednesday. We may see 90 degrees again Friday.

Meanwhile, overnight and soil temperatures have warmed enough to plant summer vegetables, just in time for Sacramento’s unofficial Tomato Planting Day – April 28.

* This week is your last chance to plant most summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* April also is the last chance to plant citrus trees such as dwarf orange, lemon and kumquat. These trees also look good in landscaping and provide fresh fruit in winter.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* Transplant tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and summer squash.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, carrots, corn, cucumbers, all melons, radishes and squash. Plant onion sets. Pumpkins can be planted starting this next weekend.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias.

* Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers.

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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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