Pacific Northwest

May, 2014
Regional Report

Prevent Powdery Mildew Disease

Unlike many other kinds of disease-causing fungi, powdery mildew does not need water on the leaf surface for infection to occur. But high humidity does favor germination of spores, so damp, shaded conditions and poor air circulation increase problems with this disease. Choose resistant varieties; avoid watering late in the day; and space or thin plants for good air circulation to reduce powdery mildew infections.

Plant Strawberries

Plant strawberries now and mulch with straw to keep weeds down and prevent soil from splashing onto the fruits. Strawberries grow best on raised beds in sandy loam soil amended with compost. Plant in double rows and be careful not to plant the crown too deeply.

Transplant Seedlings

If you're transplanting seedlings in peat pots, be sure to bury the entire pot, including the rim. If the rim is above the soil level, it will act as a wick and draw moisture away from the transplant. As an extra precaution, you can break away the bottoms of peat pots as you plant them to ensure the roots penetrate into the soil.

Apply Organic Mulch

Add a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch around trees, shrubs, and perennials to help retain soil moisture and prevent weeds from cropping up. Organic mulch could include straw, bark, shredded leaves, or compost. Keep the mulch a few inches away from trunks and main stems to prevent crown rot.

Conserve Water

Install a drip irrigation system in your vegetable or flower garden to help conserve water. Drip irrigation eliminates water loss from spray evaporation and surface evaporation. With a drip system you can water more often without causing fungus to grow on the leaves of your plants.

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