Change is in the air; rain due on Thursday
Pansies planted now will add color to the garden all winter. Kathy Morrison
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 Feb. 18:
It's wet to start the week. When you do get outside, between or after storms, concentrate on damage control:
* Keep storm drains and gutters clear of debris.
* Clean up tree debris knocked down by wind and rain.
* Where did the water flow in your garden? Make notes where revisions are necessary.
* Are any trees leaning? See disturbances in the ground or lawn around their base? Time to call an arborist before the tree topples.
* Dump excess water out of pots.
* Indoors, start peppers, tomatoes and eggplant from seed.
* Lettuce and other greens also can be started indoors from seed.
* Got bare-root plants? Put their roots in a bucket of water until outdoor soil dries out. Or pot them up in 1- or 5-gallon containers. In April, transplant the plant, rootball and all, into the garden.
* Browse garden websites and catalogs. It’s not too late to order for spring and summer.
* Show your indoor plants some love. Dust leaves and mist to refresh.
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