for the Pacific Northwest – April 2015


Wow! What beautiful spring weather we had in March. We continue to be about 3 weeks ahead of normal. We had quite a show of early flowering trees that lasted longer than usual because of the dry weather. Dogwoods, azaleas and rhododendrons will be here soon.

Newly Revised Web Site

On March 20 we launched our newly revised web site ( If you have not opened it lately, you will find a lot of additions and changes, including lots of additional pictures. I would appreciate your comments and suggestions. I plan to keep adding and making changes on a regular basis. I am updating a lot of the articles in the how to guide and will let you know about changes and additions in this newsletter.

Lawn Restoration

Are you tired of your bumpy, thin, patchwork quilt of a lawn? Would you like to restore it to pristine beauty without the expense of resodding? We can renovate and upgrade your lawn to the quality of a newly sodded lawn at a small fraction of the cost of resodding.

The typical cost of removing your old sod, preparing the soil and resodding is typically $4000 or more for a 2500 square foot lawn. Our system costs $500 or less.

Our system smooths bumpy soil as new channels for seed are created and thatch is removed. Seed is placed in these channels at just the right depth for optimum germination. A light layer of mulch helps hold moisture around the seed.
The result is a new lawn equivalent to a sodded lawn in 6 to 8 weeks. We guarantee it if you will promise to keep the soil surface wet for the first 30 days.

Expanded Landscape Maintenance Options

We have expanded our Lawn and Landscape Maintenance options so we can provide limited monthly services as well as a complete landscape maintenance services. We now offer the following 5 service options:

  1. Weekly lawn mowing, edging and blowing service plus lawn fertilization and weed control. Typical home: $130 per month (Remember, this includes 3 fertilizer applications and weed control)
  2. Biweekly lawn mowing, edging and blowing service plus lawn fertilization and weed control Typical home: $70 per month (Remember, this includes 3 fertilizer applications and weed control)
  3. Lawn, tree and shrub fertilization (3 granular applications per year) Typical home: $65 per application, $195 per year (Compare to liquid application service of $245 per year for lawn care only.)
  4. Full tree, shrub and bed service which includes pruning, fertilization, weed and pest control (no mowing) Typical home: $65 per month
  5. Complete landscape maintenance which includes all of the services in the 3 above options. Typical home: $180 per month. (Most other complete services do not include pest control)

All these services and many others are available on an individual job basis – Phone or Email for a free quote.

Vegetable and Flower Planting

Because of the weather, we can plant hardy or cold tolerant vegetables and flowers now. It is still too early to plant tender vegetables and flowers unless you provide protection. See ways to protect and speed growth of tender vegetables below. The average last frost date in Vancouver is April 17. However, we can expect frost in the higher elevations much later than that.

Hardy vegetables include all the leaf, root and flower bud vegetables (broccoli and cauliflower) plus peas and fava beans. Wait until the end of April to plant tender vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, squash and cucumbers unless you have some way of increasing the day temperature as well as protecting from frost (see below). Cold night temperatures tend to stunt these vegetables and later planted ones often pass up the earlier planted ones.

A newly revised 4 page leaflet “Vegetable Gardening in the Pacific Northwest” is available by sending me an email. It includes planting date information for all vegetables.

Hardy Flowers include all perennial flowers and annual flowers like petunia, pansy, viola, alyssum, snapdragon, blue salvia, sweet peas, candytuft, carnation, dianthus and dusty miller. Although they may also be available in stores, I would wait until late April or May to plant tender flowers like geranium, begonia, impatiens, marigold, zinnia, lobelia, ageratum, aster, coleus, cosmos, dahlia, verbena and vinca. Just like tender vegetables, cold night temperatures tend to stunt plants of tender flowers. Many articles on flowers are also available on my web site how to guide.

Row Covers and Wall-O-Water for Heat Loving Vegetables

Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, melons, cucumbers, and green beans do not like our cool spring temperatures. However, Wall-O-Water and row covers raise temperature around the plants by 10 or more degrees, and they really start to grow. Wall-O-Water is a circular jacket with water pockets which you place around individual plants. The water absorbs heat during the daytime, and gives it off at night. The extra warmth at night is particularly effective in stimulating faster growth. Row covers or plastic tunnels are often made from clear polyethylene. Pieces of heavy wire, bent into hoops, can be used to support the plastic. Floating row covers need no support. They are woven like cloth and are light in weight, so they use the plants for support. They also have the advantage of porosity, allowing rain and irrigation water to flow through.

Fruit Tree Spraying

It is time to begin spraying fruit trees for diseases and insects as soon as the flower petals have fallen. I like to spray all fruit trees with a natural copper fungicide to catch the new leaves as they appear. This is critical for peach and nectarine trees to prevent peach leaf curl disease. It is also important for apples and pears to prevent scab disease on leaves and fruit. I combine this with a natural insecticide, Spinosad (sold as Ferti-lome or Monterey ). I make a second application of this combination about 10 days to 2 weeks later. Apples and pears need biweekly applications of Spinosad to prevent codling moth larvae (worms) until August 1st.

Slug and Snail Control

Slugs and Snails are active much earlier than normal. It is time to apply bait around your perennial flowers and especially around any new plants you plant. Slugs can devastate Hosta plants as they start new growth.

Copyright 2015, Allen Wilson, Retired Professor of Horticulture, Bachelors and Masters degrees in Horticulture, Over 50 Years Hands-on Garden Experience 360-606-5437,


Over 100 articles on landscaping and gardening organized by subject are available on my web site Click on “How to Guide

April 6, 2015

April 2015

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