Change is in the air; rain due on Thursday
Pansies planted now will add color to the garden all winter.
Hope you enjoyed our sunny and warm Thanksgiving weekend! Our weather is about to change.
After a relatively dry November, December will start with a splash, says the National Weather Service. On Thursday and Friday, Sacramento can expect rain and gusty winds.
As of the early forecast, it won’t be a lot – about ¼ to ½ inch total over two days. But the Sierra passes could see heavy snow, laying a foundation for a good winter snowpack (fingers crossed).
After several afternoons in the high 60s, Sacramento will be back to normal for late November by Sunday – 63 degrees. With the impending storm, temperatures will cool down with highs in the low 50s and overnight lows in the mid to low 30s. Frost warnings are expected for Tuesday and Wednesday.
Before the rain comes, take advantage of sunny, calm days:
* This may be your last chance this season for the first application of copper fungicide spray to peach and nectarine trees. Leaf curl, which shows up in the spring, is caused by a fungus that winters as spores on the limbs and around the tree in fallen leaves. Sprays are most effective now, but they need a few days of dry weather after application to really “stick.” If you haven’t yet, spray now.
* Rake and compost leaves, but dispose of any diseased plant material. For example, if peach and nectarine trees showed signs of leaf curl this year, clean up under trees and dispose of those leaves instead of composting.
* Make sure storm drains are clear of any debris.
* Give your azaleas, gardenias and camellias a boost with chelated iron.
* Trim chrysanthemums to 6 to 8 inches above the ground after they’re done blooming. Keep potted mums in their containers until next spring. Then, they can be planted in the ground, if desired, or repotted.
* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while dormant.
* Plant bulbs for spring bloom. Don’t forget the tulips chilling in the refrigerator. Other suggestions: daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, anemones and scillas.
* Seed wildflowers including California poppies.
* Also from seed, plant sweet pea, sweet alyssum, bachelor buttons and other spring flowers.
* Plant most trees and shrubs. This gives them plenty of time for root development before spring growth. They also benefit from winter rains.
* Set out cool-weather annuals such as pansies and snapdragons.
* Lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and cool-season greens can be planted now.
* Plant garlic and onions.
* If you decide to use a living Christmas tree this year, keep it outside in a sunny location until Christmas week. This reduces stress on the young tree.
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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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