Pacific Northwest

July, 2008
Regional Report

Cut Back Leggy Annuals

It is possible to get another set of blooms from your annual plantings if you cut them back while the weather is still warm. Petunias, especially, benefit from a midseason grooming. If you don''t want to look at stubs and twigs, simply cut back one third of each plant every week. That way you will always have some flowers to look at while new growth is coming on. Perennial plants like coreopsis also benefit from an overall haircut.

Divide Bearded Iris

Any time between now and October is perfect to dig and divide bearded iris. Remove the flower stalk, dig the plants from the soil, and discard any spongy rhizomes. Cut individual sections of root, each with a fan of foliage, to plant or share with neighbors. Reduce the amount of foliage by cutting it back to 3 to 4 inches from the root. Plant prepared rhizomes in fast-draining soil in full sun.

Keep Lawn Mower Blades Sharp

Lawn diseases are more common on grasses that are mowed with dull blades. Instead of making a clean cut, a dull blade frays the leaf tips and creates a greater surface area for disease pathogens to enter and infect the plant. A properly sharpened mower blade makes a clean cut and gives the lawn a neater look.

Mound Soil Around Carrots

If the tops of your carrots are exposed to sunlight while growing, they will develop green shoulders, which have a bitter taste. Mulch carrots with soil to keep the roots covered at all times.

Control Apple Maggots

Apple maggot adults lay their eggs just beneath the skin of apples. The larvae tunnel into the ripening flesh and ruin the fruit. To control damage, lure the adults away from your fruit by hanging red rubber balls in your trees and covering them with a sticky substance, such as TangleFoot. When the adults land to lay eggs on the fake apple, they get stuck and die.

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