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UC Davis Arboretum hosts first spring plant sale of 2024

Members-only event features huge selection of water-wise plants; join at the gate

The weather likely won't be as pleasant Saturday as in this photo, but the tables at the UC Davis Teaching Nursery will be just as full for the first spring Plant Sale of 2024. This will be a members-only event.

The weather likely won't be as pleasant Saturday as in this photo, but the tables at the UC Davis Teaching Nursery will be just as full for the first spring Plant Sale of 2024. This will be a members-only event. Kathy Morrison

This month is a wonderful time to add water-wise perennials, shrubs, trees and native plants to our landscapes. The weather is warming and so is the soil, which is moist and soft due to recent rain.

That also makes this the perfect week for a plant sale!

On Saturday, March 9, the UC Davis Arboretum’s Teaching Nursery starts its spring cycle of plant sales with its annual Spring Members Appreciation Sale. From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., members of Friends of the Arboretum get the run of the 1-acre nursery and first pick of the arboretum’s spring selections – plus a 10% discount.

Not a member? No problem! Join in advance online or at the gate and get a new member gift ($10 coupon for the sale) as well as the discount.

Split sales (with the first hour reserved for members only) will be held April 7 and 27. The spring clearance sale is set for May 11. Hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for each sale.

“Shop our 1-acre nursery to find an incredible selection of attractive, low-water plants perfect for our region,” says the arboretum staff. “By choosing to shop with us, not only will you bring home beautiful plants that help support a sustainable environment, your purchases play a vital role in supporting the growth and care of our gardens, student environmental leadership opportunities, and free public programs.

“Discover the joys of gardening with plants that help heal our environment while nurturing our community!”

Volunteers are still needed to staff the sales. The nursery seeks customer assistants, cashiers, plant counters and other volunteers to help these events run as smoothly as possible. Find the forms to sign up here: https://arboretum.ucdavis.edu/plant-sales.

That same link also leads to downloadable inventory lists of the hundreds of varieties that will be available as well as many photos. The inventory lists are invaluable tools to get the most out of these sales.

Take it from our experience: Research plants before you shop, and compile a list with the plant locations. Bring a wagon or rolling cart if you have one: Often early in the sale there's a waiting list for the nursery wagons.

The Arboretum Teaching Nursery is located at 1046 Garrod Drive, Davis, on the UC Davis campus near the small animal veterinary hospital. Parking is available in the adjoining lots. Student volunteers stationed on corners can direct visitors to parking areas.

Details and directions: https://arboretum.ucdavis.edu/.

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Dig In: Garden Checklist for week of April 7

The warm wave coming this week will shift weeds into overdrive. Get to work!

* Weed, weed, weed! Whack them before they flower.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* 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 is really hungry. Feed 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.

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

* Transplant lettuce and cabbage seedlings.

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