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After sunny break, rain returns to Sacramento

Expect spring to get off to a soggy start, weather service says

Spring flowers, like these fragrant stock blooms, are ready to bright up landscapes, but the sun we've enjoyed the past few days will be crowded out by clouds soon.

Spring flowers, like these fragrant stock blooms, are ready to bright up landscapes, but the sun we've enjoyed the past few days will be crowded out by clouds soon.

Kathy Morrison

So far, 2023 has definitely been wet – and our rainy days aren’t over. It looks like we’ll be starting spring with more showers.

“The latest 6-10 Day Precipitation Outlook is still leaning toward above-normal precipitation for NorCal next week,” tweeted the Sacramento office of the National Weather Service on Thursday. “A strong system will bring widespread precipitation early to mid next week, followed by unsettled weather towards the end of next week.”

Before this next round of rain arrives, the last Saturday of winter will feel very much like spring with highs close to 70 degrees. That warmth will prompt rapid growth and many more spring flowers. Any daffodils, tulips or other bulbs held back by chilly temperatures will soon be bursting into bloom.

Warmer temperatures also bring out mosquitoes. Make sure to dump rainwater out of any place it may have collected – flowerpots, old tires, kids’ toys, etc. Invasive mosquitoes can breed in a bottle cap with a tablespoon of water.

During this little gap in storms, it’s a good time to access our precipitation totals – and your own landscape’s ability to cope with all this moisture.

This winter, California has already experienced 11 “atmospheric rivers” – a weather term that’s become all too familiar.

Almost halfway through our “water year” that started Oct. 1, Sacramento has received 23.76 inches of rain; that’s 6 inches more than we average (17.6 inches) in a whole water year.

So far in March, Sacramento has recorded 2.98 inches – almost double the average for those 16 days. That made up for a slightly below-par February that totaled 2.56 inches.

Leave the sprinklers off for at least another week; your lawn and landscape won’t need it. According to the weather service, Sacramento can expect another 1 inch to 1-1/2 inches this week, with the first showers starting as soon as Sunday afternoon. Monday is the first day of spring.

For the latest forecast:


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 19:

Spring will start a bit soggy, but there’s still plenty to do between showers:

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* Watch out for aphids. Wash off plants with strong blast from the hose.

* 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 fight blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees as they start to blossom.

* 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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