Pacific Northwest

March, 2006
Regional Report

Dethatch Lawns

Spring is a great time to dethatch and overseed bare areas of 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 1 pound of grass seed for every 300 square feet of lawn.

Divide Perennials

Divide summer- and fall-flowering perennials, such as chrysanthemums and Shasta daisies, now to promote better bloom later this year. Wait until autumn to divide spring-flowering perennials, such as candytuft, bleeding heart, and creeping phlox.

Prune Clematis

After the danger of hard frost is past, prune fall-flowering clematis back to the strongest stems. Wait until after blooming is finished on spring-flowering clematis before pruning. After pruning, broadcast fertilizer on the soil beneath the plants, scratch it in, and water well.

Take Geranium Cuttings

If you're overwintering your geraniums indoors, they're probably getting tall and leggy due to the reduced light. Now is a good time to cut them back to about a foot tall. Save a few 4- to 6-inch pieces and root them by dipping the cut ends in rooting hormone and then placing them in a pot filled with peat moss and sand. Keep the pot out of direct light while the cuttings take root, which should be in a few weeks. When new growth appears, you'll know your cuttings have rooted.

Transplant Seedlings

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 rootball, gently tap the pot to loosen the roots, and remove the plant. If the rootball 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.

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