Pacific Northwest

August, 2004
Regional Report

Mulch to Conserve Moisture

Mulching around shrubs, perennial flowers, and vegetables reduces heat stress and prevents diseases on your plants. Spread a 2- to 3-inch-thick layer of organic mulch, such as compost or shredded cedar, around the base of plants. Mulching helps conserve moisture, inhibits weed growth, and moderates soil temperatures.

Keep Lawn Mower Blades Sharp

Lawn diseases are more common on grasses that are mowed with dull blades. Instead of making a clean cut, a dull blade frays the leaf tips and creates a greater surface area for disease pathogens to enter and infect the plant. A properly sharpened mower blade makes a clean cut and gives the lawn a neater look.

Check Vegetables for Pests

Inspect your tomatoes and peppers for psyllids. These tiny, dark-colored, slow-moving insects can be found lurking on the undersides of the leaves and on stems. Their feeding causes yellowing and inward rolling of the leaves. Droppings from these pests appear as a coating of sugar. Homemade soap sprays and dusting with sulfur every three days can control psyllids. Don't apply sulfur when temperatures are above 80 degrees.

Patrol for Slugs

Continue to search out and destroy garden slugs in the evening and early morning hours when they are feeding on flowers and vegetables. These slimy critters can quickly damage tender flowers and foliage. Hand-pick slugs and drop them into a pail of soapy water.

Mound Soil Around Carrots

If the tops of your carrots are exposed to sunlight while growing, they will develop green shoulders. The green gives carrots a bitter taste. Mulch carrots with soil to keep the roots covered at all times.

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