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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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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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