Pacific Northwest

December, 2007
Regional Report

Prune Raspberries

If you're growing everbearing raspberries, one of the easiest ways to maintain them is to prune the canes back now. Prune the old canes down to ground level with loppers. Rake out leaves and other debris to eliminate overwintering disease spores that can infect the plants next spring.

Check Stored Bulbs

If you harvested and put summer-flowering bulbs into storage, now is a good time to check them. Remove any that show signs of rotting and mold growth. If necessary, you can dust the bulbs with sulfur to inhibit additional rot. If the storage medium has started to dry out, rehydrate by lightly misting with a spray bottle filled with warm water.

Remove Dead and Diseased Wood

During mild winter days, prune dead or diseased branches from deciduous trees and shrubs while they are bare. If pears or crab apples developed fire blight disease, prune to remove infected branches. Burn or dispose of prunings to prevent possible reinfection next spring.

Buy Healthy Poinsettias

Make sure your poinsettias are wrapped in a floral sleeve before transporting them outdoors to your car. Cold, windy days will make an unprotected plant drop its leaves in a hurry. Choose a poinsettia with dark green foliage; the true flowers should be plump, just-opening green buttons (in the center of the colorful bracts). If the flowers have already opened and shed their pollen, the plant has been around for awhile.

Decorate With Evergreen Boughs

Use prunings from your evergreens to decorate outdoor planters this holiday season. Be sure to bring some indoors, as well. The fragrance of cedar and pine trees will help set a festive mood when used indoors for holiday arrangements. Add water to the container daily to keep the cuttings from drying out.

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