Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Pacific Northwest

November, 2000
Regional Report

Monitor Houseplants

Monitor houseplants for adequate humidity and water. Turn plants weekly to ensure uniform light distribution and promote straight growth. If your plants spent the summer outdoors, check them often for hitchhiking insects or signs of disease. Spray with products with low toxicity such as insecticidal soap if you find pests.

Plant Tulips

Tulips need to be planted in cold soils, or they will send up shoots before roots are established. If tulips are planted deeply, they will produce large, uniform flowers. Deep planting also makes the bulbs less susceptible to mouse and squirrel damage. Dig holes 2 1/2 to 3 times as deep as the bulb is wide. Generally, you'll need a hole 4 to 6 inches deep. In mild-winter climates, you can plant up to 8 to 12 inches deep, leaving 4 to 6 inches between bulbs.

Watch for Standing Water

Watch for standing water in perennial beds after long periods of rain. Water that collects on the surface during winter will freeze, damaging perennials or causing the crowns of some plants to rot. Dig shallow trenches to help drain excess water away and make a note to raise those beds in spring.

Reduce Plant Disease

Reduce common perennial flower diseases such as peony botrytis blight and hollyhock rust in next year's garden by removing and disposing of all old stems this fall. This will reduce the number of overwintering sites of the disease-causing organisms, and you'll have less trouble with your plants next year.

Fertilize Lawns

A November application of fertilizer is very beneficial to lawns. It promotes root development without excessive top growth, and with a strong root system your lawn will be better able to withstand droughty conditions next summer. The best nutrient ratios for fall fertilizer are 3-1-2. Fertilizers formulated for fall application are often identified with the term "winterizer." Apply at rates recommended on the package.


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