Want shade? Plant a tree

Want more shade next summer — and a cooler home? Plant a tree.

Fall is an ideal time to plant shade trees. The cooler weather and early rain help young trees put down roots and get off to a strong start.

The Sacramento Tree Foundation and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District offer free trees through their Sacramento Shade program. Mature trees can cut home cooling costs during hot summer months by as much as 60 percent.

Through this program, a trained urban forester will visit your home and make recommendations on the best varieties of trees for your particular landscape and locations for planting. Within two weeks, you’ll receive your free trees, each four to seven feet tall, plus fertilizer and stakes delievered to your home. All you have to do is plant them —and water. For details, call (916) 924-8733 or visit

• Plant daffodils and tulips now. To extend next spring’s bloom, plant bulbs over the next three weeks.

• Mulch spring bulb beds as well as summer bulbs and tubers left in the ground.

• Snails and slugs are hungry. Hand-pick them at night before they feast on your garden.

• Plant garlic and onions. Transplant cool-weather vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage and kale.

• Transplant cool-weather bedding plants including calendula, pansy, snapdragon, primrose and viola.

– Debbie Arrington