Pacific Northwest

April, 2005
Regional Report

Prune Pines

Now is a good time to shear and prune pine trees. Remove all dead, diseased, and undesirable wood, then prune to shape. Pines put out a single flush of tip growth each spring and then stop growing. Prune before these "candles" of new needles become mature. If you want to promote more dense growth, remove up to two-thirds of the length of newly expanded candles.

Transplant Seedlings

You can help lessen transplant shock for seedlings by watering them thoroughly before setting them out. Dig a small hole that's slightly wider and deeper than the root mass, gently tap the pot to loosen the roots, and remove the plant. If the root mass is tangled and compacted, use your fingertips to gently loosen the outer roots. Set the plant into the hole slightly deeper than it was in the pot, and firm the soil in around it.

Plant Spuds

Purchase certified, disease-free seed potatoes and, depending upon the size, either plant them whole or cut them into smaller pieces. Each piece should have at least two eyes. Plant them about 4 inches deep with the bud facing up. I mulch with straw to help conserve soil moisture, piling on more straw as the plants grow upward.

Weed Out Bittercress

The best control for little bittercress, one of the earliest weeds to start growing in spring, is to go on daily patrols, removing the small whorls of leaves before the plant has a chance to produce a flowering stem. If allowed to flower, the plant forms seeds that are literally catapulted from the pods the minute it's touched.

Dethatch Lawns

April is a great time to dethatch and overseed bare areas in your lawn. Remove thatch with brisk raking with an iron rake or with a dethatching machine. Overseeding helps thicken the lawn and crowd out weeds. Spread one pound of grass seed for every 300 square feet of lawn.

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