Pacific Northwest

July, 2008
Regional Report

Start Rose Cuttings

Now is a good time to take cuttings from your favorite roses. Take a 6-inch cutting from a cane that has bloomed and on which the wood has begun to mature. Dust the bottom of the cutting with some rooting hormone and insert it into prepared garden soil. Cover the cutting with a wide-mouth jar and stick it in a semi-shaded spot. It will root by the end of summer and can be transplanted next spring.

Watch for Spittle Bugs

Keep a lookout for bubbly masses of spittle on the foliage of your perennials and shrubs. Little bugs that suck plant juices will cover themselves with this weird spittle material to protect themselves from predators. They can be easily controlled by hosing them down with a forceful spray of water. Once exposed to sunlight and heat, they will die.

Fertilize Vegetables and Small Fruits

Apply an all-purpose plant fertilizer, such as 5-10-5 or 10-10-10, and water it in well. Vegetables and small fruits (raspberries and strawberries) will benefit from the extra fertilizer to keep them productive in the heat of summer. After fertilizing, mulch the bare soil if you haven't already done so, to help suppress weeds, moderate soil temperatures, and slow water evaporation.

Check Vegetables for Tiny Pests

Inspect your tomatoes and peppers for psyllids. These tiny, dark, slow-moving insects can be found lurking on the stems and undersides of the leaves. The immature forms are tiny, disc-like greenish nymphs attached to the undersides of the leaves. They cause yellowing and inward rolling of the leaves. Droppings from these pests appear as a coating of sugar. Homemade soap sprays or dusting with sulfur every three days can control psyllids. But don't apply sulfur when the temperature is above 80 degrees.

Get Weeds Before They Seed

Don't let weeds go to seed. If you spend 15 minutes or so each day removing those difficult and persistent weeds from your garden, you'll stay ahead of them and reduce the next generation of weeds.

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