Pacific Northwest

October, 2007
Regional Report

Reduce Plant Disease

Reduce common perennial flower diseases such as peony botrytis blight and hollyhock rust in next year's garden by removing and disposing of all old stems this fall. This will reduce the number of overwintering sites of the disease-causing organisms, and you'll have less trouble with your plants next year.

Plant Tulips

Tulips need to be planted in cold soils or they will send up shoots before roots are established. If tulips are planted deeply, they will produce large, uniform flowers. Deep planting also makes the bulbs less susceptible to mouse and squirrel damage. Dig holes 2-1/2 to 3 times as deep as the bulb is wide. Generally, you'll need a hole 4 to 6 inches deep. In mild-winter climates, you can plant up to 8 to 12 inches deep, leaving 4 to 6 inches between bulbs.

Monitor Houseplants

Provide adequate humidity and water. Turn plants weekly to ensure they get uniform light so they grow straight. If your plants spent the summer outdoors, check them often for hitchhiking insects or signs of disease. If you find pests, spray with products with low toxicity, such as insecticidal soap.

Caring for Chrysanthemums

In most years mums flower until December. When they stop blooming, cut the stems back to ground level and dispose of stems and leaves in the compost pile. In very cold areas, you might even protect the plants with a layer of straw mulch. When new shoots appear in the spring, dig the root mass and divide the plant, taking some roots with each new shoot.

Fertilize Lawns

A November application of fertilizer is very beneficial to lawns. It promotes root development without excessive top growth, and with a strong root system your lawn will be better able to withstand droughty conditions next summer. The best nutrient ratios for fall fertilizer are 3-1-2. Fertilizers formulated for fall application are often identified with the term "winterizer." Apply at rates recommended on the package.

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