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Farm to floor: Search for the perfect tree

Find a forest of evergreens at nearby tree farms. (Photo: Debbie Arrington)

Christmas tree farms open the season Friday

It’s a Sacramento holiday tradition: A short trek to find the perfect tree.

Think of it as farm to floor. Forests of fresh firs, pines, spruces, cedars and even redwoods await customers at Sierra foothill tree farms (and a few farms in the Valley, too).

An hour from Sacramento, Apple Hill is dotted with several growers. You can cut your own or take home a pre-cut tree.

Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is opening day for many of these farms. With more stormy weather in the forecast, check road conditions before heading out.

Tuesday’s snow, which blanketed much of the foothills, “set” the needles on the trees, according to growers. That way, the trees will hold onto their needles longer. The moisture also freshened up the foliage.

That snow also makes the tree search feel wintery – a wonderful touch when thinking “White Christmas.” Several growers offer hot cider or hot chocolate along with their trees.

Find a map and suggestions at the El Dorado County Christmas Tree Growers’ website, .

For folks who would rather keep their search in the Sacramento Valley, check out Silveyville Christmas Tree Farm in Dixon. Celebrating its 40th year, this farm opens Friday, too. Find it at 6248 Silveyville Road, Dixon, and online at .


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 19:

Spring will start a bit soggy, but there’s still plenty to do between showers:

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

* Watch out for aphids. Wash off plants with strong blast from the hose.

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

* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to fight blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees as they start to blossom.

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

* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.

* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.

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