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Learn do's and don'ts of landscape makeovers

Get expert advice on front-yard renovations in new webinar


Plants with red, yellow, purple flowers
A water-efficient garden can be as colorful as you want, with the right plants.
This beautiful collection is at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center, in the appropriately
named Water-Efficient Landscape. Photographed in mid-September 2019.
(Photo: Kathy Morrison)



Thinking about tearing up that thirsty lawn and starting over? Get some expert advice on water-efficient makeovers before you dig.

“Do’s and Don’ts for Front Yard Renovations,” a new webinar presented by the Regional Water Authority (RWA), tackles the basics of landscape transformations with an eye toward environmental stewardship as well as beauty.

Set for noon Thursday, Jan. 28, the one-hour online workshop is free to Sacramento-area residents who are customers of local water suppliers. But interested attendees need to register in advance.

Leading the discussion will be local water-wise landscape experts Soleil Tranquilli, Cheryl Buckwalter and Marcia Scott. Sacramento Suburban Water District hosts the presentation.

According to the RWA, this webinar is about a lot more than saving water: “We renovate our front yards for various reasons: Maybe the existing landscape is overgrown, lacks color, and requires too much work. Maybe it’s time to spice up your curb appeal. And, maybe you want to lead by example, showing friends and neighbors that your landscape is both beautiful, water-efficient, and a magnet for birds, bees, and other pollinators.

“Taking time to plan your landscape renovation can help you avoid design, irrigation, and plant pitfalls,” the RWA added. “This workshop will guide you through the design process, including essential elements to consider. It will cover irrigation basics for healthy plants, how to avoid costly mistakes, and provide sage advice for what to do and not do during your renovation.”

Register at:
bit.ly/FrontYardRenov

Upcoming RWA webinars include: “Young Tree Pruning” (noon Feb. 4); “Landscape Design with Cost in Mind” (noon Feb. 25); “How Much Water Does Your Landscape Really Need?” (noon March 25); “Drought Tolerant/Mediterranean Climate Gardens” (noon March 31); and “Creating a Pollinator Garden” (noon April 14).

Find out more and sign up at: https://bewatersmart.info/webinars/ .


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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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