Pacific Northwest

December, 2009
Regional Report

Harvest Holiday Greenery

If you bring greenery into the house for holiday decorations, you might be importing insects, as well. Inspect pine boughs, cones, and juniper sprigs for pests before bringing them indoors. As an extra measure, periodically check your houseplants for populations of new pests and spray accordingly.

Purchase a Living Christmas Tree

A living Christmas tree is a great investment. You can enjoy it indoors during the holiday season, then move it out to plant in the garden. Gradually prepare the tree for indoor temperatures by placing it in the garage or other protected site for a few days before bringing it inside. Plan to keep it indoors for no more than 7 to 10 days. Re-acclimate it to outdoor temperatures after the holidays by setting it back in the garage for a few days before planting it permanently outside.

Recycle Packing Material

Styrofoam packing peanuts can be recycled. Seal them in plastic bags and place the bags in the bottom third of a deep planter before adding soil. Don't mix them with the potting soil or dump them in without sealing in bags or they'll float to the top.

Check Soil Moisture

Plants, especially evergreens such as rhododendron, that grow near the foundation of your house may need supplemental watering if overhangs keep natural rainfall away. Soak the soil deeply once a month during winter to keep the roots alive and healthy.

Keep Off the Grass

Avoid soil compaction and associated drainage problems by keeping foot traffic to a minimum over dormant lawns. A final mowing may be required if weather remains mild. If it is, try to mow two days after the last rainfall. Use stakes and flagging to direct visitors to walkways and off any newly planted lawn.

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