Gardening Tips

Cut down on chance of disaster with fire-resistant landscape

FireproofBy Kym Pokorny
Drawing a line around the house with fire-resistant landscapes can mean the difference between a home consumed by flames and one left standing.
“Fire specialists love to show us pictures of houses where people took precautions,” said Brad Withrow-Robinson, forester with Oregon State University’s Extension Service. “I’ve seen umpteen photos of land charred all around and a little house left standing in the middle. Not always, but often.”
This year could be a bad one for people who live in rural areas or on rural-urban boundaries, he said.

WateringBy Kym Pokorny
The forecast promises high temperatures this summer, so take care to protect plants for the long, hot haul.
“Already this year, I’ve noticed soils are drying out more and sooner than I’ve seen since I moved to Portland eight years ago,” said Weston Miller, a horticulturist with Oregon State University’s Extension Service. “It’s critical to be proactive about watering.”

Stressed firBy Mary Stewart
Many Oregonians have noticed widespread damage in landscape and forest trees this spring – and weather may be the culprit.
“Browning or dieback is often caused by weather-related stress, sometimes in combination with pests and diseases,” said Glenn Ahrens, a forester with Oregon State University’s Extension Service. Douglas-fir trees are the most common victims, he said, but stress due to weather is affecting many tree species and a variety of problems are showing up.
On some Douglas-firs, branches and tops are turning red or brown. Sometimes the entire tree dies. Older trees typically have milder symptoms.
“This sudden mortality or ‘flaring out’ of branches and tops is a classic symptom of drought in conifers,” Ahrens explained.

Rust diseaseBy Kym Pokorny
Charmingly warm weather coaxed roses into bloom early this year, which means dealing with the usual diseases and pests earlier, too.

Sweet potatoesBy Kym Pokorny
When he was nine years old and riding with his brother on the back of a two-seater tractor on 30 acres in southern California, Gary Jordan planted sweet potatoes one at a time.

Apple treeBy Kym Pokorny
Anyone who buys or inherits a fruit tree faces the intimidating crossroads of how, when and if they should prune.
“It’s one of the most difficult things for people to understand,” said Ross Penhallegon, horticulturist with Oregon State University’s Extension Service. “Ultimately, they make a few cuts and think, ‘Oh, I’m going to hurt the tree’ and run back into the house to watch TV.”

Stink bugBy Kym Pokorny

When leaves fall and days get shorter, stink bugs go on the move looking for a warm, dry place for winter. Often that means sharing our homes with these prehistoric-looking insects, whether we know it or not.
This year, it’s difficult not to know. Many homeowners have been inundated as the population of brown marmorated stink bugs (Halyomorpha halys) keeps increasing.

MistletoeJust how poisonous is holiday mistletoe?
By eNature
Almost all of us have come across American Mistletoe, the white or green-berried parasitic plant hung in doorways during the holiday season to elicit kisses from those standing beneath it.
Reputed to be the “kiss of death,” Mistletoe (the Phoradendron species is found in North America) is said by some to be so poisonous that humans can be killed if they ingest the leaves or berries.

ConiferBy Kym Pokorny
We buy live Christmas trees with the best of intentions, promising ourselves to plant them in the garden as soon as the holidays are over. But resolve has a way of fading like resolutions after January.
Moved outside without the care they need, the beautiful, and not inexpensive, trees meant to go in the ground in winter, languish, fade to brown and eventually die. One alternative is to buy plants meant to stay in pots, said Al Shay, a horticulture instructor at Oregon State University.
“It’s a trade-off,” he said. “You give up big trees for smaller, slower-growing plants that you can bring in year after year. But what’s small? Is four feet too small? Three feet? It’s relative.”

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McKenzie River Reflections is the weekly newspaper serving Oregon's McKenzie River Valley. Available by mail for $23/yr in Lane County, $29/yr outside Lane. Digital subscriptions are $23/yr. Subscribe at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/subscriptions-0. Purchase copies online at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/back-issues-0. Read about area communities including Cedar Flat, Walterville, Camp Creek, Leaburg, Vida, Nimrod, Finn Rock, Blue River, Rainbow and McKenzie Bridge.