Pacific Northwest

December, 2004
Regional Report

Control Bagworms

Bagworms feed mainly on evergreens, though they can be found on many deciduous trees and shrubs. Now is a good time to control them. The pests live in pinecone-like cocoons that hang from the foliage. Bagworm eggs overwinter in these cocoons and hatch in June. New bagworm larvae move throughout the plant and feed on leaves and needles. Control can be a challenge, as bags are difficult to penetrate with sprays. Hand-picking is the easiest way to remove the bagworms, especially in winter or early spring before the eggs hatch.

Check Houseplants

During the busy holiday season it's easy to forget that houseplants besides the holiday gift plants need regular care. Check soil moisture every few days by sticking your finger into the soil. If it's dry to the first knuckle, water. If you can remember to mist your plants every few days, you'll help combat the drying effects of overheated rooms.

Build a Cold Frame

If you're growing cool-season veggies, such as arugula and spinach, you can help protect your crops from cold snaps by building a simple frame of PVC pipe and draping clear plastic over it. The plastic will trap heat, so prop the frame up with stones on clear days to allow cool air to enter to prevent plants from burning and to allow excess moisture to evaporate.

Harvest Holiday Greenery

If you bring greenery into the house for holiday decorations, you might be importing insects as well. Inspect pine boughs, cones, and juniper sprigs before bringing them indoors. As an extra precaution, periodically check your houseplants for new pests.

Choose a Living Christmas Tree

A living Christmas tree is a great investment. You can enjoy it indoors during the holiday season, then move it out to plant in the garden. Gradually prepare the tree for indoor temperatures by placing it in the garage or another protected site for a few days before bringing it inside. Plan to keep it indoors for no more than 7 to 10 days. Re-acclimate it to outdoor temperatures after the holidays by setting it back in the garage for a few days before planting it permanently outside.

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