Pacific Northwest

January, 2011
Regional Report

Check Your Lawn Mower

Does your mower need sharpening; does the oil need changing; what about the filters; is the engine running properly? If you need to have any of your power garden implements repaired, this is the time to do it. I took a mower in for repair a couple of weeks ago, and it was finished in two days. I know from personal experience that if you wait until mid-February or later it will probably be two or three weeks to get the same type of work done.

Plant New Trees and Shrubs

Most garden centers receive new shipments of trees and shrubs during the winter months. If you shop now, you'll get the pick of the crop. And, because the trees are dormant, they transplant with a minimum amount of set-back. If you are selecting fruit trees be sure to ask the nursery staff or a Master Gardener on duty which of the varieties are recommended for your area. This way you'll get the varieties that will produce the best quality fruit.

Recycle your Christmas Tree

Don't discard your Christmas tree. Instead of just tossing it at curbside, you can recycle it in your own landscape by cutting off the branches and using them to cover tender or early flowering plants. Cut boughs from evergreens are natural insulators for plants during the cold weather. When the season changes and you're finished using the evergreen boughs, they can be recycled through the compost pile or shredded and used for mulching.

Control Slugs

Check carefully for slug activity and eliminate any you find. Every slug left to roam the garden will reproduce this spring, summer, and fall. The offspring are capable of reproducing at an early age, as well. You can make a major reduction in the slug population in your garden by eliminating them now.

Control Weeds

You may be amazed at how many weeds have sprouted in your garden. Dig or pull any weeds you find before they have a chance to flower and set seeds. Many weeds are capable of producing thousands of seeds, and left unchecked, you'll be fighting those weeds for years to come.

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