Sun’s out, shears out; time to get to work! Unless it’s raining (or snow is covering your plants), there are plenty of garden chores to do outdoors. Just dress warmly and wear gloves. Some tasks to tackle this week:
▪ Plant living Christmas trees as soon as possible. If you’ve placed the tree outside, avoid exposing the root ball to freezing temperatures. Get it in the ground or in a pot. Firs, pines and other evergreens can flourish in containers. (And if planted in a pot, your living Christmas tree can come inside again next year for the holidays – if it still fits through the door.)
▪ Divide daylilies, Shasta daisies and other perennials. Cut back and divide chrysanthemums.
▪ Clean up leaves and debris around fruit trees and rose bushes to prevent the spread of fungal disease.
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▪ Start pruning roses. They’ve been slow to go into dormancy this winter (many were blooming around Sacramento just before Christmas), but it’s time to get serious about this annual chore. While pruning, trim off remaining leaves from canes.
▪ Apply oil to fruit trees soon after a rain to control scale, mites and aphids. Oils need 24 hours of dry weather after application to be effective. Don’t apply on foggy or windy days.
▪ This also is the time to spray a copper-based oil to peach and nectarine trees to fight leaf curl.
▪ In the vegetable garden, plant fava beans, head lettuce, mustard, onion sets, radicchio and radishes.
▪ Plant bare-root asparagus and root divisions of rhubarb.