Pacific Northwest

August, 2012
Regional Report

Watch for Spider Mites

The warm months of July and August are when spider mite populations explode. Be on the lookout for mottled, dusty-looking leaves and fine webbing, which can indicate their presence. Use a magnifying glass to confirm infestations, looking for tiny, crawling specks on the undersides of the leaves. To help discourage mite attacks, rinse the foliage periodically with a strong spray of water, or use insecticidal soap or homemade soap sprays.

Carefully Monitor Container-Grown Plants

Plants in small containers may require water daily; large pots only every other day. It's a good idea to check soil moisture regularly and water when needed, but don't overwater. This can result in root rot. Since constant watering will leach nutrients out of the soil, fertilize every few weeks with a water-soluble plant food. If planting new containers, add some water-absorbing polymers to the potting mixture so you'll need to water less often.

Clean Up Garden Debris

To eliminate shelter for insects and disease organisms, remove old plants which have stopped producing. You can replant the area with new annuals, or sow seeds of green beans or spinach.

Water in the Morning

Water the garden early in the day so plants can absorb the moisture before the hot sun dries the soil. Early watering also ensures that the foliage dries before night. Wet foliage at night increases susceptibility to fungus diseases.

Raise your Lawn Mower Blade

Letting your lawn grow a little taller will help shade the roots and cool the soil. This helps to keep it greener and healthier, reducing water need and stress. Raise your mower deck to mow at a height of 3-4 inches.

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