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Learn secrets of stronger, healthier trees

SacTree, RWA offer free seminar on 'Young Tree Pruning'

Tree pruning
Proper pruning when a tree is young can help
it grow strong and true. (Photo courtesy
Sacramento Tree Foundation)

Why do some trees survive high winds while others snap like twigs? It often comes down to pruning – not just of the mature tree, but as that tree was developing.

Train your trees to grow strong and true with the help of a new online class presented by the Sacramento Tree Foundation and the Regional Water Authority.

Set for noon Thursday, Feb. 4, “Young Tree Pruning” will present the do’s and don’ts of how to train a tree to be its best. This early pruning is especially important with shade trees, which can provide heat relief and potentially save homeowners energy and money.

Arborist Pamela Sanchez from the Sacramento Tree Association will demonstrate techniques as well as discuss tools and tree’s needs. She’ll concentrate on shade trees, particularly the fast-growing varieties common to Sacramento. (This class doesn’t include fruit tree care.)

“Quick, simple steps you can take now to help your young shade trees grow healthy and beautiful will save you time and money in the future,” according to the RWA. “We’ll teach you how and where to make good cuts and which tools to use.”

This one-hour class is free and open to customers of the local water suppliers that are part of the Regional Water Authority. Advance registration is required.

Register at:

This seminar is part of the RWA’s winter series of water-wise landscaping and educational seminars. Find out more and sign up at: .


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For week of Dec. 10:

Take advantage of these dry but crisp conditions. It’s time to get out the rake!

* Rake leaves away from storm drains and keep gutters clear.

* Fallen leaves can be used for mulch and compost. Chop up large leaves with a couple of passes with a lawn mower.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while they’re dormant. Without their foliage, trees are easier to prune.

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

* Make sure to take frost precautions with new transplants and sensitive plants. Mulch, water and cover tender plants in the late afternoon to retain warmth.

* Succulent plants are at particular risk if temperatures drop below freezing. Don’t water succulents before frost; cover instead. Use cloth sheets, not plastic. Make sure to remove coverings during the day.

* 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. Water thoroughly. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they'll bloom again next December.

* Just because it rained doesn't mean every plant got watered. Give a drink to plants that the rain didn't reach, such as under eaves or under evergreen trees. Also, well-watered plants hold up better to frost than thirsty plants.

* Plant garlic (December's the last chance -- the ground is getting cold!) and onions for harvest in summer.

* Bare-root season begins. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb. Beware of soggy soil. It can rot bare-root plants.

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