Pacific Northwest

February, 2011
Regional Report

Root Cuttings

I propagate many plants by rooting cuttings in a potting mix. I usually have five or six going at a time in the same container. Sometimes the roots of the cuttings fill the potting mix, making it difficult to separate them at planting time. I've found that if I shake free the excess soil and then place the cuttings into a bowl of water, most of the tangled roots float apart. Those roots that remain tangled can be pulled free with very little damage.

Plant and Transplant

Now is an excellent time to plant or transplant most any garden tree or shrub. I plant fruit, flowering, and shade trees during their winter dormant season so they'll settle in before producing their flush of spring growth. Bare-root berries can be set out now, as well as both evergreen and deciduous shrubs and roses.

Feed Your Lawn

Late this month or early next are good times to feed your lawn with a spring-type lawn fertilizer. If moss is problem, use a spring fertilizer that contains a moss killer, so you can do both jobs in one easy application. A follow-up application of dolomitic lime will help sweeten the soil if a soil test shows the pH needs adjusting.

Hide Fading Bulb Foliage with Garden Staples

I love to grow daffodils and have a number of them interplanted with other perennials. Though it's not a good idea to cut off the leaves of daffodils after the plants bloom, they do begin to look scraggly. I use 6-inch long landscaping pins (also called garden staples) that push down over a clump of daffodil leaves to secure them close to the ground between the other plants. The U-shaped pins are often used to secure landscape fabric in gardens and are easy to pull up to be reused the following year.

Apply Dormant Spray

February is the month to make the last application of winter dormant spray. A combination of lime- sulfur and oil is the mix generally used for dormant spraying. It should only be used on deciduous trees and shrubs such as fruit, flowering, and shade trees. Spray at a time when the wind is not blowing and when temperatures are above freezing. Lime sulfur is apt to burn leaves and needles, so keep the spray off the foliage of evergreens.

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