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Get some TLC for fruit trees

SacTree program open to South Sacramento residents

Apple on tree
Fruit trees can get some help to be healthy and productive via the Sacramento
Tree Foundation. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

Could your fruit trees use some TLC? Have your citrus been less than fruitful? Or are you interested in growing your own supply of backyard fruit?

If you live in South Sacramento, you’re in luck. The Sacramento Tree Foundation has a special program, just for your neighborhood.

Thanks to additional state funding for SacTree’s mini-grant program, SacTree is offering free fruit tree care services to residents in South Sacramento.

“These services will help to ensure your trees develop well, and are on their way to a long and fruitful future,” SacTree posted online. “We’ve teamed up with regenerative agriculture expert Dominic Allamano to support previous fruit tree recipients and other South Sacramento residents in caring for their fruit trees.”

Available until Jan. 31, services include pruning, soil care and education. Trees will get thoughtful pruning to improve structure and future growth. Soil will get a boost with compost, worm castings and mulch. And residents will get expert advice on how to help those fruit trees thrive.

These services are part of the Sacramento Food Forestry Project, bringing more healthy food to those in need.

Boundaries for the project area are generally Fruitridge Road on the north, Mack Road on the south, Freeport Boulevard on the west and Power Inn Road on the east. (The service area does not include Sacramento Executive Airport; for a map, see web page.)

For more information or to sign up, go to:


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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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