Frost reminds us: It’s still winter
Now there's some sunshine! Calendulas bring bright color to the winter garden.
After three weeks of rain, recent dry weather has been a window of opportunity to get things done outdoors. And there’s been a lot to do, including continued cleanup of fallen branches and downed trees.
Warmer weather prompted some plants to jump into spring mode. Daffodils have already started blooming. Roses are pushing out new growth.
But we have seven more weeks of winter – and a cold reminder in the coming nights.
Expect frost, says the National Weather Service. Overnight temperatures in Sacramento will dip down to 30 degrees on Monday and Tuesday nights, even lower in the foothills. Widespread frost is forecast for Wednesday morning, too. Make sure sensitive plants are protected; that includes new transplants.
Before the cold, we’ll see a storm blow through on its way to the Sierra. On Sunday, gusty winds will push through lots of clouds but the weather service expects little if any chance of rain in Sacramento. But those winds could bring down weakened branches and more tree debris.
Meanwhile, these final days of January will be colder than average – only 48 degrees Sunday before settling into the low 50s for most of the week. A slight chance of rain (25%) could arrive Thursday afternoon, but otherwise the forecast looks dry.
Bundle up and get work done!
* Prune, prune, prune. Now is the time to cut back most deciduous trees and shrubs. The exceptions are spring-flowering shrubs such as lilacs.
* Now is the time to prune fruit trees, except apricot and cherry trees. Clean up leaves and debris around the trees to prevent the spread of disease.
* Prune roses, even if they’re still trying to bloom or sprouting new growth. Strip off any remaining leaves, so the bush will be able to put out new growth in early spring.
* Prune Christmas camellias (Camellia sasanqua), the early-flowering varieties, after their bloom. They don’t need much, but selective pruning can promote bushiness, upright growth and more bloom next winter. Feed with an acid-type fertilizer. But don’t feed your Japonica camellias until after they finish blooming next month. Feeding while camellias are in bloom may cause them to drop unopened buds.
* Clean up leaves and debris around your newly pruned roses and shrubs. Put down fresh mulch or bark to keep roots cozy.
* Apply horticultural oil to fruit trees to control scale, mites and aphids. Oils need 24 hours of dry weather after application to be effective.
* This is also the time to spray a copper-based oil to peach and nectarine trees to fight leaf curl. Avoid spraying on windy days.
* Divide daylilies, Shasta daisies and other perennials.
* Cut back and divide chrysanthemums.
* Plant bare-root roses, trees and shrubs.
* Transplant pansies, violas, calendulas, English daisies, snapdragons and fairy primroses.
* In the vegetable garden, plant fava beans, head lettuce, mustard, onion sets, radicchio and radishes.
* Plant bare-root asparagus and root divisions of rhubarb.
* In the bulb department, plant callas, anemones, ranunculus and gladiolus for bloom from late spring into summer.
* Plant blooming azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons. If you’re shopping for these beautiful landscape plants, you can now find them in full flower at local nurseries.
Comments0 comments have been posted.
Sacramento Digs Gardening to your inbox.
Taste Fall! E-cookbook
Sites We Like
Dig In: Garden Checklist
For week of Dec. 3:
Make the most of gaps between raindrops. This is a busy month!
* Windy conditions brought down a lot of leaves. Make sure to rake them away from storm drains.
* Use those leaves as mulch around frost-tender shrubs and new transplants.
* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.
* Just because it rained doesn't mean every plant got watered. Give a drink to plants that the rain didn't reach, such as under eves or under evergreen trees. Also, well-watered plants hold up better to frost than thirsty plants.
* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while they're dormant.
* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storing for the winter.
* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and primroses.
* Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location. Water thoroughly. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they'll bloom again next December.
* Plant one last round of spring bulbs including daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, anemones and scillas. Get those tulips out of the refrigerator and into the ground.
* This is also a good time to seed wildflowers such as California poppies.
* Plant such spring bloomers as sweet pea, sweet alyssum and bachelor buttons.
* Late fall is the best time to plant most trees and shrubs. This gives them plenty of time for root development before spring growth. They also benefit from fall and winter rains.
* Lettuce, cabbage and broccoli also can be planted now.
* Plant garlic and onions.
* Bare-root season begins. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb. Beware of soggy soil. It can rot bare-root plants.
Taste Spring! E-cookbook
Taste Summer! E-cookbook