Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Pacific Northwest

September, 2005
Regional Report

Divide and Transplant Iris

If your iris didn't bloom well this year, the beds may be overcrowded. Iris should be dug and divided every four to five years. Dig carefully, separate, and discard the old, spent center sections, keeping the young, vigorous rhizomes for transplanting. Plant the rhizomes just barely beneath the soil surface and water in well. To help plants get established, add some compost and/or an all-purpose 5-10-5 plant fertilizer when replanting.

Patch Lawns

Whether your lawn is drought -tressed and thin, or simply has a few weedy, dead, or damaged sections, you can renew and repair it now and have a lush, healthy lawn by next spring. Begin by vigorously raking out dead or damaged sections of your lawn and digging out the weeds. Then use a heavy-duty rake to make grooves in the soil surface. Once that's done, sprinkle a handful of all-purpose, granular fertilizer, such as 5-10-5, over the area and add a 1/2-inch layer of compost. Rake it in and smooth the area.

Plant New Trees and Shrubs

Many trees and shrubs can be planted in early fall. Planting before the end of October will allow enough time for the roots to become established before winter weather arrives. Mulch new plantings with a 2- to 3-inch layer of organic matter to help maintain uniform soil moisture. Mulch also regulates soil temperatures.

Start New Compost Piles

As you clean up flower and vegetable beds, add disease-free plant debris to the compost pile. If you catch grass clippings in a mower bag, put these into the compost, too! Try mixing brown (dried leaves) materials with green (fresh grass clippings), moisten and cover the pile. The pile will decompose over winter and transform the organic matter into "black gold" to enrich your soil next season.

Begin Harvesting Apples

Harvest apples as they ripen, and pack them gently into boxes for winter storage. Apples will keep for several months when stored in a cool, dry place. Be sure to pick up and remove windfall apples from the ground to prevent any unwelcome pests or diseases from wintering over and affecting next year's crop.


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