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Garden Checklist: Plant shade trees in autumn

Shade trees such as this camphor tree can cut utility bills.
Shade trees such as this camphor tree can cut utility bills. Bigstock

Do your home and garden get scorched by summer heat? Plant a shade tree.

Fall is an ideal time to plant shade trees in Sacramento. The cooler weather and (hopefully) 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 40 percent. This program offers fast-growing (and usually drought-tolerant) tree varieties with the best chance for success in our area. For details, call (916) 924-8733 or visit www.smud.org.

▪ Elsewhere in the garden, think about spring. Plant daffodils now. To extend the blooms in March and April, plant bulbs over the next three weeks.

▪ Mulch spring bulb beds as well as summer bulbs and tubers left in the ground. Chopped-up dried leaves work well as mulch.

▪ 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