Pacific Northwest

May, 2006
Regional Report

Prune Pines

Now is a good time to shear and prune pines. 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.

Plant Potatoes

Purchase certified disease-free seed potatoes and 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. Mound additional soil around the plants as they grow, or add straw or other mulching material to conserve soil moisture.

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.

Dethatch Lawns

Spring is a great time to dethatch and overseed bare areas on 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.

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.

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