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Learn all about Japanese maples

Placer County master gardeners offer free Zoom workshop

Red and gold leaves on Japanese maple
Many Japanese maples produce spectacular color shows in fall. (Photos: Kathy Morrison)

Japanese maples can be among the most beautiful – and most perplexing – trees to grow in the greater Sacramento area.

Find out how to bring out the best in your Japanese maple during a special Zoom workshop presented by the UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Placer County.

Set for 10:30 a.m. Jan. 23, this one-hour presentation will cover “the care, maintenance and variety selection of Japanese maples,” say the master gardeners. No pre-registration is necessary for this free workshop.

Japanese maple tree with gold and red leaves
With an eastern exposure and enough irrigation, this
Japanese maple has grown as tall as the house.

With distinctive fall color and finely cut leaves, Japanese maples do their best in hardiness zones 5 through 8. That makes growing them in Sacramento’s zone 9 a little problematic; some varieties can’t take our afternoon heat.

But with a little shade (or eastern exposure), Japanese maples can thrive in Sacramento and the foothills. Due to our intense summer heat, they usually need some protection from leaf scorch and additional irrigation.

Japanese maples come in a wide range of sizes, from dwarf specimens under 5 feet tall to small trees topping out at 25 feet. According to Monrovia Nursery (which grows several varieties), foliage may be red, green, orange, purple, white or pink depending on the season. Some varieties stay red all year while others produce spectacular fall foliage.

Learn more at Placer County master gardeners’ Zoom workshop.

Details and Zoom link:


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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Sept. 25

This week's warm break will revive summer crops such as peppers and tomatoes that may still be trying to produce fruit. Pumpkins and winter squash will add weight rapidly.

Be on the lookout for powdery mildew and other fungal diseases that may be enjoying this combination of warm air and moist soil.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Plant for fall now. The warm soil will get cool-season veggies and flowers off to a fast start.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with "eyes" about an inch below the soil surface.

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