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Windy conditions could wreak landscape havoc

Watch for falling trees and branches

A park tree leans precariously after last weekend's storm. The sun was (briefly) out when it was photographed, but the tree could be in danger of falling during the next windy storm, starting Wednesday. Avoid driving or walking under trees if possible.

A park tree leans precariously after last weekend's storm. The sun was (briefly) out when it was photographed, but the tree could be in danger of falling during the next windy storm, starting Wednesday. Avoid driving or walking under trees if possible. Kathy Morrison

More wild weather is headed for Sacramento. And with this next round of rain come some powerful winds – and that could represent some real danger to our homes and gardens.

“Damaging winds will impact the region Wednesday and Thursday,” tweeted the Sacramento office of the National Weather Service. “Gather emergency supplies, charge your electronic devices, use generators outdoors, and keep refrigerators closed.”

In other words, be ready for more power outages due to downed power lines – and trees.

On Tuesday afternoon, the weather service issued a High Wind Warning for the greater Sacramento area, in effect from 10 a.m. Wednesday to 4 p.m. Thursday. That’s also when Sacramento can expect another inch or two of rain.

“Damaging winds will blow down trees and power lines,” says the wather service. “Widespread power outages are expected. Travel will be difficult, especially for high-profile vehicles.

“Saturated soils will allow trees to topple more easily during this wind event,” adds the warning. “The strongest winds will be Wednesday afternoon and into Thursday morning.”

Southerly winds will blow steadily from 25 to 30 mph, with gusts of 60 mph, predicts the weather service.

If you haven’t already, tie down or move anything that can be blown around by such gusts. Patio furniture can become missiles. Hanging plants can bash into windows. Large potted plants will be knocked over and rolled around.

Most destructive are falling branches and uprooted trees. The weather service warns residents to stay away from trees during this storm – and away from windows that could be broken.

Evergreen trees such as redwoods or cedars are at greater risk. Their foliage acts like a giant sail and catches the wind’s full force.

Before the storm, survey trees and large shrubs in your own landscape. Young trees may be stabilized with stakes or other supports; otherwise, their trunks and limbs may snap during this storm. More mature trees may need professional help.

For tips on tree care – before and after this storm – and how to hire an arborist, go to www.sactree.org.

For more on wind damage, consult these UC master gardener notes: https://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/GARDEN/ENVIRON/wind.html

-- Debbie Arrington

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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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