Pacific Northwest

November, 2009
Regional Report

Winterize Sprinkler Systems

If you have an automatic sprinkler system and drip irrigation tubes in your landscape, it's time to winterize them. That means draining the system to prevent frost damage to the above-ground vacuum breaker and sprinkler heads. Also, blowing out the lines and drip irrigation tubes with an air compressor can eliminate standing water in the lines.

Feed the Birds

Winter bird feeding is a fun activity, but it's important to remember that once you start feeding winter visitors, you must keep on feeding them throughout the season. These musicians on the wing will come to depend on you for a source of winter food and water. Keep water fresh and select the right seed for the birds you're attracting. Black-oiled sunflower seed, thistle seed, and suet attract a wide variety of feathered friends.

Control Fungus Gnats

Now that your houseplants have had time to acclimate to indoor conditions of less light and warmer temperatures, it's a good idea to look them over for insect pests. If tiny black fungus gnats are flitting about, you can use a homemade remedy to get rid of them. Place a wine glass filled with a little wine (or vinegar if you prefer) near your plants. The tiny black flies are attracted to the liquid, crawl in, and drown.

Don't Prune Evergreens

Avoid the temptation to prune evergreens this time of year. If they're sheared in late fall, particularly before cold weather, evergreens may turn yellow and brown at the tips. The best time to accomplish major pruning of evergreens is spring, before or just during new growth expansion.

Plant the Last of the Bulbs

If you've put off planting spring-flowering bulbs, you still have time. After digging the planting site, add a generous supply of compost and sprinkle a granular 5-10-5 fertilizer before planting the bulbs. Place bulbs at the proper depths, cover, and water them in thoroughly.

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