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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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Garden Checklist for week of April 14

It's still not warm enough to transplant tomatoes directly in the ground, but we’re getting there.

* April 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.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden needs nutrients. Fertilize shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

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

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

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

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, radishes and squash.

* Plant onion sets.

* 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 for summer bloom.

* Mid to late April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce seedlings. Choose varieties that mature quickly such as loose leaf.

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