Pacific Northwest

September, 2004
Regional Report

Check Junipers For Mites

Brown discoloration near the main stems of junipers can be the result of spider mites. To check for them, hold a sheet of white paper under a branch. Tap the branch forcefully, and the mites will appear as tiny brown or green specks on the paper. Control them by spraying plants with a strong stream of water.

Plant Trees and Shrubs

You can usually buy trees and shrubs at bargain prices this month. Planting them while the soil is still warm will give the roots an opportunity to become established before winter weather sets in. Dig a hole twice as wide as the root ball, and an inch or two deeper. Use native soil to backfill the hole, and keep the plant well watered until fall rains arrive.

Add New Bulbs

Spring- and summer-flowering bulbs are available at garden centers now. Purchase them early in the season for a wider selection. You might even consider adding some unusual fall-blooming bulbs to your flower beds. Colchicum, with lavender pink flowers, is a lovely plant all spring and summer and an extraordinary sight when it blooms in the fall. Set colchicum bulbs 5 to 6 inches deep in well-drained soil. The foliage will grow next spring, but just be patient with the plants until they are mature and wither in early summer. Beautiful blossoms will appear each autumn to brighten the flower bed or perennial rock garden.

Soak Landscape Trees

We have been in a drought cycle for several years. Without normal rainfall, many trees are stressed as they go into the fall and winter months. It's important to water trees and shrubs deeply a few times before fall arrives. Set the hose or sprinkler at the base of each tree and let it run until the water soaks down a few feet into the soil.

Renew Perennial Beds

I use a heavy-duty spading fork to carefully lift out plants that have finished blooming. To rejuvenate the beds, add compost to the soil, digging it in 10 to 12 inches deep. Add a high-phosphate fertilizer, such as 0-20-0, at the rate of 1 pound per 100 square feet. Once the beds have been amended, replace plant divisions and water them in well.

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