February looks normal (so far); chilly and a little damp
Established strawberries can be fertilized this month. It's also a good month to add new transplants.
A little cold, a little sun and a little damp; that’s early February in Sacramento.
After weeks of unusual weather, we seem to finally be settling into something that resembles “normal.” Historically, Sacramento averages February highs of 60 degrees and lows of 42. In non-drought years, February totals more than 3.5 inches of rain, too.
According to the National Weather Service, this week will be close to those averages with most days edging close to 60 degrees and overnight lows in the upper 30s and low 40s. As for rain, we will start Sunday with a storm (beginning Saturday in late afternoon), but that looks to be all for the week.
Make the most of sunny windows and get winter tasks done:
* This is the last chance to spray fruit trees before they bloom. Treat peach and nectarine trees with copper-based fungicide. Spray apricot trees at bud swell to prevent brown rot. Apply horticultural oil to control scale, mites and aphids on fruit trees soon after a rain. But remember: Oils need at least 24 hours to dry to be effective. Don’t spray during foggy weather or when rain is forecast.
* Feed spring-blooming shrubs and fall-planted perennials with slow-release fertilizer. Feed mature trees and shrubs after spring growth starts.
* Finish pruning roses and deciduous trees.
* Remove aphids from blooming bulbs with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap.
* Fertilize strawberries and asparagus.
* Transplant or direct-seed several flowers, including snapdragon, candytuft, lilies, astilbe, larkspur, Shasta and painted daisies, stocks, bleeding heart and coral bells.
* In the vegetable garden, plant Jerusalem artichoke tubers, and strawberry and rhubarb roots.
* Transplant cabbage and its close cousins – broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts – as well as lettuce (both loose leaf and head).
* Plant artichokes, asparagus and horseradish from root divisions.
* Plant potatoes from tubers and onions from sets (small bulbs). The onions will sprout quickly and can be used as green onions in March.
* From seed, plant beets, chard, lettuce, mustard, peas, radishes and turnips.
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For week of March 26:
Sacramento can expect another inch of rain from this latest storm. Leave the sprinklers off at least another week. Temps will dip down into the low 30s early in the week, so avoid planting tender seedlings (such as tomatoes). Concentrate on these tasks before or after this week’s rain:
* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.
* Knock off aphids with a strong blast of water or some bug soap as soon as they appear.
* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.
* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.
* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.
* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to help corral blossom blight.
* Feed citrus trees, which are now in bloom and setting fruit.
To prevent sunburn and borer problems on young trees, paint the exposed portion of the trunk with diluted white latex (water-based) interior paint. Dilute the paint with an equal amount of cold water before application.
* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.
* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.
* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.
* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.
* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.
* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.
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