Pacific Northwest

September, 2005
Regional Report

Protect Bulbs From Gophers and Moles

Where burrowing rodents are a problem, don't forget to use wire baskets as you go about your fall planting. If you make your own rodent restraints, use aviary wire or hardware cloth rather than chicken wire. The holes in chicken wire are large enough for gophers and moles to burrow right through.

Harvest Small Fruits

Harvest the last of the grapes and blueberries and clean up any fallen apples and pears. Bruised fruit should be used right away. If you have a bumper crop of fruit, cook and freeze or can your bounty while it's still at the peak of perfection. Store apples and pears in a cool, airy place, such as a garage or protected porch. Apples, in particular, will last months with proper storage.

Make Compost Piles

As you clean up flower and vegetable beds, add disease-free plant debris to the compost pile. If you catch grass clippings in a mower bag, put these into the compost, too. Try mixing brown materials (dried leaves) with green (fresh grass clippings), moisten, and cover the pile. The pile will decompose over winter and transform the organic matter into "black gold" to enrich your soil next season.

Renovate Your Lawn

Whether your lawn is drought-stressed and thin, or simply has a few weedy, dead, or damaged sections, you can renew and repair it now and have a lush, healthy lawn by next spring. Begin by vigorously raking out dead or damaged sections of your lawn and digging out the weeds. Then use a heavy-duty rake to make grooves in the soil surface. Once that's done, sprinkle a handful of all-purpose, granular fertilizer, such as 5-10-5, over the area and add a 1/2-inch layer of compost. Rake it in and smooth the area.

Plant Trees and Shrubs

Many trees and shrubs can be planted in early fall. Planting before the end of October will allow enough time for the roots to become established before winter weather arrives. Mulch new plantings with a 2- to 3-inch layer of organic matter to help maintain uniform soil moisture and regulate soil temperatures.

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