Pacific Northwest

March, 2002
Regional Report

Trap Slugs


I control slugs in a variety of ways, including handpicking and trapping. My most successful traps are small terracotta pots, inverted and propped up on small stones. Slugs crawl in during the day to hide and I simply scrape them out each afternoon.

Check Soil for Planting


To determine whether your soil is dry enough to plant, do the "squeeze test" on a handful of soil. If the soil stays in a ball when squeezed, it's too wet to cultivate. If it crumbles in your hand, you can till the soil and prepare it for planting. Till the soil to a depth of 6"-8", add a three-inch layer of organic matter over the top, and dig it in. Then rake the bed smooth.

It’s Not Too Late for Dormant Sprays


Spray fruit trees with lime-sulfur or fixed-copper to prevent diseases later this spring. Apply dormant oil to control scale insects on the bark. Read the label directions and apply all sprays on calm, dry days when temperatures are above 40 degrees.

Prune Pines


Now is a good time to shear and prune pines. Remove all dead and diseased wood, then prune to shape. Pines put out a single flush of tip growth each spring and then stop growing. Prune before these "candles" of new needles become mature. To promote more dense growth, remove up to two-thirds of the length of newly expanded candles.

Control Bittercress


The best control for little bittercress, one of the earliest weeds to start growing in spring, is to go on daily patrols, removing the small whorls of leaves before the plant has a chance to produce a flowering stem. If allowed to flower, the plant forms seeds that literally shoot out from the pods the minute it's touched.

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