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El Dorado County tree farms now open

With pandemic precautions in place, holiday tradition continues

Looking our over tops of trees
El Dorado County tree farms are now open, with COVID-19 safety requirements for customers.
(Photo courtesy )

Some traditions continue during this most unusual holiday season. That includes Christmas tree season on Apple Hill.

With COVID safety requirements in place, most El Dorado County Christmas tree farms are now officially open for business. After years of growth, their trees are ready for customers.

But remember to bring your face mask.

"Masks are required in the sales and tree-baling area," wrote the Kobervig family on their Crystal Creek Farm website, . "Please limit the people in your group that enter this area. We disinfect all saws and shared items."

On 20 acres in Camino, the Kobervigs grow a large assortment of trees.

"We have several varieties of trees including: White Fir, Silver Swift Fir, Silver Tip, Douglas Fir, Noble Fir, Blue Spruce, Nordmann Fir and Grand Fir," they wrote.

The flat price of $75, cash or check, includes tax and packing materials.

Outdoors and away from crowds, Christmas tree hunting can be a safe family activity. Most farms have plenty of room for social distancing, and invite visitors to walk around. Some offer tables for picnicking. Dogs on leashes are often welcomed.

Most of these farms operate as choose-and-cut, not cut your own. All customers need to do is pick one. But if they still want to saw, sanitized tools are available.

"We are owned and operated by a family that was one of the first 'Choose and Cut' tree farmers in El Dorado County more than 55 years ago," wrote Cathy Morgan of Carson Ridge Evergreens, also in the Camino area near Placerville ( ). "You choose the tree, we cut it for you or show you how to do it yourself."

Beautiful clear and crisp weather is forecast for this weekend and the next several days, making this prime tree hunting time.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 3:

* Celebrate the city flower! Catch the 100th Sacramento Camellia Show 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 2, and 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 3, at the Scottish Rite Center, 6151 H St., Sacramento. Admission is free.

* Between showers, pick up fallen camellia blooms; that helps cut down on the spread of blossom blight that prematurely browns petals.

* Feed camellias after they bloom with fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants.

* Camellias need little pruning. Remove dead wood and shape, if necessary.

* Tread lightly or not at all on wet ground; it compacts soil.

* Avoid digging in wet soil, too; wait until it clumps in your hand but doesn’t feel squishy.

* Note spots in your garden that stay wet after storms; improve drainage with the addition of organic matter such as compost.

* Keep an eye out for leaning trunks or ground disturbances around a tree’s base, a sign of shifting roots in the wet soil.

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* If aphids are attracted to new growth, knock them off with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap. To make your own “bug soap,” use two tablespoons liquid soap – not detergent – to one quart water in a spray bottle. Shake it up before use. Among the liquid soaps that seem most effective are Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soaps; try the peppermint scent.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Make plans for your summer garden. Once the soil is ready, start adding amendments such as compost.

* Indoors, start seeds for summer favorites such as tomatoes, peppers and squash as well as summer flowers.

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