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Learn about fruit trees, other winter garden tasks

Fruit trees, like this budding peach tree, need attention in winter so they
produce a good crop. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)
Two free classes offered in Davis this weekend
Got plans for the three-day weekend? (Oh, yeah, garden work.) But if you'd also like to pick up some useful gardening knowledge, or refresh what you already know, the Yolo County master gardeners offer two free classes on late winter gardening.

On Saturday, Feb. 15, from 10 to 11:30 a.m., fruit tree care will be the topic. If you want a good summer crop, care and preparation now will go a long way toward ensuring that. Two of the Yolo master gardeners will talk about pruning, irrigation, fertilizing, common fruit tree diseases, and pests (and how to control them).

The class will be held at Grace Garden, United Methodist Church, 1620 Anderson Road in Davis. There will be an optional walk in the orchard afterwards.

On Sunday the Yolo master gardeners will hold their monthly Gardening Forum, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Small Conference Room of the Mary L. Stephens Branch Library, 315 E. 14th St., Davis. Bring questions for the master gardeners, and also learn about winter project planning, landscape maintenance, irrigation and mulching, and what to plant now.

For information on Gardening Forums, go to . All the Yolo County master gardener events are at

-- Kathy Morrison


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of June 4:

Because of the comfortable weather, it’s not too late to set out tomato and pepper seedlings as well as squash and melon plants. They’ll appreciate this not-too-hot weather. Just remember to water.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, melons, squash and sunflowers.

* Plant basil to go with your tomatoes.

* Transplant summer annuals such as petunias, marigolds and zinnias.

* It’s also a good time to transplant perennial flowers including astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia, salvia and verbena.

* Let the grass grow longer. Set the mower blades high to reduce stress on your lawn during summer heat. To cut down on evaporation, water your lawn deeply during the wee hours of the morning, between 2 and 8 a.m.

* Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladiolus and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.

* Dig and divide crowded bulbs after the tops have died down.

* Feed summer flowers with a slow-release fertilizer.

* Mulch, mulch, mulch! This “blanket” keeps moisture in the soil longer and helps your plants cope during hot weather.

* Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.

* Cut back fruit-bearing canes on berries.

* Feed camellias, azaleas and other acid-loving plants.

* Trim off dead flowers from rose bushes to keep them blooming through the summer. Roses also benefit from deep watering and feeding now. A top dressing of aged compost will keep them happy. It feeds as well as keeps roots moist.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushier plants with many more flowers in September.

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