Inland Northwest, High Desert

June, 2004
Regional Report

Mulch to Conserve Water

These spring breezes combined with sunshine sap the moisture right out of newly planted bedding plants. As you finish each bed, be sure to spread an inch of fine, bark mulch, grass clippings, or pine needles to help keep the moisture in.

Beware of Grass Clippings With Weed Killer

If you used a 2-in-1 product on your lawn that feeds grass and kills weeds at the same time, do not use the grass clippings as mulch. The weed killer remains in a high enough concentration in the blades that when applied as mulch in a flower bed, it will kill the flowers you meant to protect. It's healthier for your yard and your family to use fertilizers without herbicide.

Cut Back Bulb Foliage

You don't have to wait till daffodils and tulips have brown, shriveled leaves before you cut them back. Research has shown that if you wait only three weeks after they've bloomed, you can safely cut the leaves back on these spent bulb flowers.

Prune After Flowering

Spirea, forsythia, and butterfly bushes may be a little out of shape and in need of pruning, but be sure you wait till after they've flowered. If you prune beforehand, you'll miss their big spring show.

Monitor Soil Temperature

Buy yourself a treat: a long-stemmed thermometer. It takes the guesswork out of planting. When soil temperatures reach 40 degrees, it's OK to plant fava beans, beets, cabbage, and turnips. You must wait for 60-degree soil temps to plant green beans, cucumbers, pumpkins, okra, or peppers.

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