Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Pacific Northwest

December, 2000
Regional Report

Rehydrate Dahlia Tubers

Check stored dahlia tubers. If a few are shriveled, you can rehydrate them by repacking them in barely moistened peat moss. I use just a spritz of water from a spray bottle and mix the peat well before adding the tubers. Check on their progress in 3-4 days. They should be plump but not wet.

Suppress Weeds with Mulch

Keep winter weeds pulled before they have a chance to mature and set seeds. This will reduce the amount of spring weeding you'll have to do. You can slow soil erosion and discourage weed seeds from germinating by placing a 2-3-inch layer of organic mulch such as bark over bare soil.

Prune Grapevines

Prune grapevines back to a more manageable size now before sap begins to run. If you prune after buds begin to swell in spring, the cuts will ooze a sticky liquid until they callous over. Sap dripping from cuts won't harm the grapevines, but it can make a mess on sidewalks, porches, and decks.

Harvest Scion Wood

Scion wood (one year old twigs from fruit trees) is used to graft onto fruit tree rootstocks, creating more of the varieties you want to grow. Collect and save scion wood when pruning fruit trees; pencil-thin branches from the previous season's growth are best. Place the branches in plastic bags and store in the refrigerator until you're ready to use them.

Divide Rhubarb

If the ground is unfrozen, divide and replant rhubarb. Amend the soil with lots of organic matter; then dig the parent plant and divide it so that each new plant has 2-3 buds (eyes). Mulch well after replanting and keep well watered if Mother Nature doesn't cooperate.


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