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Volunteers needed for Jan. 9 Prune-a-thon

McKinley Park Rose Garden to host annual event with face masks, social distancing

Volunteers at the prune-a-thon
Volunteers prune roses in McKinley Park during a previous year's Prune-a-thon. This year's event, with
masks and social distancing, will be Jan. 9. (Photos: Debbie Arrington)

The Prune-a-thon will go on!

With social distancing and mandatory face masks, the annual public pruning event at the McKinley Park Memorial Rose Garden will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 9.

Nisa Hayden, the McKinley Park Rose Garden manager and volunteer coordinator, confirmed that the Prune-a-thon – which usually attracts scores of rose lovers – would welcome volunteers again in 2021.

Traditionally held the first Saturday in January, the Prune-a-thon is scheduled a week later, due to New Year’s Day falling on a Friday and current COVID restrictions.

Home to about 1,200 bushes, the garden is located on H Street west of 33rd Street in East Sacramento.

Persons interested in participating are asked to fill out an online form in advance. To register, please visit .

Rose garden
The pruning pays off in spring, when the rose garden looks
like this.

The largest event of its kind in Sacramento, this massive pruning session annually grooms the garden’s rose bushes, often completing the task in just one day.

In addition, beginners learn the skills to help any rose bush look its best and bloom more.

“Experienced volunteers who have been trained can work on their own,” Hayden said. “Inexperienced but interested volunteers will be trained and work with supervision. ...We are also seeking some experienced volunteers who would be willing to help train.”

And there’s a bonus for sticking around. “Hot soup will be provided after we are finished,” she added.

Participants are asked to bring their own gloves and tools such as bypass pruners and loppers.

For more information, email Hayden 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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