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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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Dig In: Garden Checklist

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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