Master Gardner

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.

Learn from a post-mortem analysis

SurgeonBy Judy Scott
Often we discover in the spring that a tree or shrub just didn't make it through the winter. There are many reasons for a woody plant to succumb and a "post-mortem" analysis can point out clues.

 

Tomato plants can have problemsTomatoes can have a variety of problems, including leaf roll, late blight and blossom end rot. Photo by Lynn Ketchum.

 

By Tiffany Woods

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.