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2022 rain total? Sacramento's driest year on record thus far

Since Jan. 1, Sacramento has received only 2 inches --10.6 below average

Soaker hose on mulch
A soaker hose can deliver a long, slow drink of
water to precious trees and shrubs. Mulch helps
keep the moisture from evaporating
too quickly. If possible, position the hose under
the mulch for a better soak.
(Photo: Kathy Morrison)

How dry are we? Our lack of rain is taking on historical proportions.

According to the National Weather Service, Sacramento has recorded its driest first five months in 128 years. That’s how long the weather service has been keeping track of our rain totals.

And so far in 2022, those totals have been mighty bleak. Since Jan. 1, downtown Sacramento has recorded just over 2 inches – 2.01 – in total precipitation, says the weather service. That includes 0.06 for all of May. Normal for May: 0.84 inches.

Rain totals for March (0.94) and April (0.96) were less than 1 inch for each month. That followed a rainless February and a nearly dry January (0.05).

Sacramento’s normal rainfall total for the first five months: 12.6 inches. That’s almost a 10.6-inch shortfall. (And yes, that means we are in a drought – again.)

Don’t expect much June precipitation to add to those totals. Sacramento’s June rainfall averages 0.21 inches – or one good summer cloudburst. According to the weather service, there’s a 25% chance of showers Sunday, June 5, but it will only be a drizzle (if it materializes) – 0.03 inches.

That lack of good soaking rain can mean rock-hard soil – particularly in areas without regular irrigation. Without a source of moisture, roots of trees and shrubs tend to die back, weakening the plant and causing instability.

To save your landscape, deep-water trees and shrubs. Give them a long, slow drink with a soaker hose.

Lack of moisture also increases fire danger. Grasses and other vegetation in unirrigated pastures and wilderness areas have already dried out and browned to a crisp. One spark can start a wildfire.

In breezy conditions (such as this week), avoid mowing dry grass or using power tools that may strike a rock and spark.

May also continued a trend of warmer than usual weather. Daily highs averaged 83.6 degrees, 2.4 above normal.

What can we expect in June? Besides mostly dry days, June averages highs of 87 degrees and lows of 56. But triple digits are not uncommon. The hottest June day on record in Sacramento: 115 degrees.

For more on Sacramento weather:


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Sept. 24:

This week our weather will be just right for fall gardening. What are you waiting for?

* Now is the time to plant for fall. The warm soil will get these veggies off to a fast start.

* Keep harvesting tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons and eggplant. Tomatoes may ripen faster off the vine and sitting on the kitchen counter.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Fertilize deciduous fruit trees.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower as well as lettuce seedlings.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials. That includes bearded iris; if they haven’t bloomed in three years, it’s time to dig them up and divide their rhizomes.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with “eyes” about an inch below the soil surface.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

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