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Rain breaks another Sacramento dry spell

So far, 2022 among driest years in city's history

The downspouts and street gutters are full of rainwater  -- at least today. Take this opportunity to note how the landscape is handling real rain.

The downspouts and street gutters are full of rainwater -- at least today. Take this opportunity to note how the landscape is handling real rain.

Kathy Morrison

November started with something Sacramento has seen little of this year: Rain!

Tuesday morning, the National Weather Service upped its original storm prediction from 0.1 inch to 0.25-0.5 inch – enough to turn off irrigation for at least a few days.

Rain is normal in November, the second month of our annual water year and the start of our usual rain season. November rain totals typically average just over 2 inches in Sacramento.

But there’s been nothing typical about our weather lately. 2022 most likely will go down as one of our driest years on record.

How dry has 2022 been? October had no measurable precipitation in Sacramento. We were also rainless in August and received barely a trace (0.01 inch or less) in February, May and July.

The first 10 months of 2022 have totaled 2.45 inches – almost 10 inches below normal for that period.

For more Sacramento area weather information and forecast:

To reach our annual average of 17.65 inches by Dec. 31, Sacramento will need 12.2 inches in two months. November and December are two of our rainiest months, averaging 5.32 inches for that 61-day period. But even double that amount will leave us far short of “normal.”

All that dry weather may have changed your landscape’s ability to cope with real rain. With so little deep-soaking moisture this year, soil may have become rock hard. (I know that’s true for sections of our lawn.) Watch out for runoff during heavy cloudbursts.

During this storm, note how your landscape is handling the water. Is it pooling or running off? Can it soak in? Make note of problem areas. (The solution may be more mulch or compost.)

Remember to irrigate plants that rainwater may have missed, particularly under large trees or eaves.

Most likely, the winds that accompanied this rain knocked down a lot of leaves. (November also marks the start of Sacramento’s leaf season.) Remember to rake leaves away from gutters and storm drains, too.

After so much drought, we’ll take any rain we can get. This storm may not produce a huge total, but it’s a start.


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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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