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This pruning class offers side benefit: Private sale


Nursery manager Taylor Lewis will lead the winter pruning class. (Photo
courtesy UC Davis Arboretum)

Learn and shop at the Arboretum Teaching Nursery

December is among the best months to prune many trees and shrubs, but how?

Learn from experts -- then take some new plants home -- during the December "Learn & Shop" class offered by the UC Davis Arboretum.

Set for 10 a.m Tuesday, Dec. 11, "Winter Pruning Tips and Techniques" will cover the basics plus a lot more. Nursery manager Taylor Lewis will share his pointers on how to shape, train and maintain trees, shrubs and perennials including many California natives.

He'll also answer gardening questions and offer suggestions on plant selection. As manager of the arboretum's huge nursery, he's personally familiar with growing thousands of different plant varieties.

After a 90-minute exclusive demonstration in the Arboretum Teaching Nursery and its gardens, the class gets a chance to shop the nursery in one last private sale before season's end. It's a great way to pick up some gifts for gardening friends, too.

Register in advance; seating is limited. Class cost including a reserved parking space in front of the nursery is $28 general; $22 for Friends of the Arboretum. Class only is $18 general, $12 Friends. Parking ($9) also is available in nearby campus visitor lots.

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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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