Upcoming programs:

April 6th, Saturday: Caring for Your Large Pond (and the wildlife that use it) Workshop - Sat. 2019

Sauvie Island Grange 8:30 a.m. - 3:45 p.m. wmswcd. org/event/caring-for-your-large-pond/ Whether your pond is for irrigation or fire suppression, whether it’s neglected and weedy or meticulously landscaped, you’ll find lots of important information packed into this one-day workshop. Topics will include: Vegetation control, mosquito control, sedimentation, water quality, creating habitat, attracting songbirds, turtles & other wildlife. Part of the day will be spent walking around a pond, so wear appropriate footwear.

$30 registration fee includes coffee, snacks, and lunch. Pre-registration is required by April 3rd. Scholarships are available: contact pondworkshops@gmail.com with any questions and/or to request a scholarship.

2019 Home and Garden Show – April 6th and 7th

The 2017 Home and Garden Show will be held at the Columbia County Fairgrounds on Saturday, April 6 from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and on Sunday, April 7th from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. There will be numerous vendor displays and booths, some entertainment, and garden talks by our OSU Master Gardeners. This show has always been a lot of fun and quite informative. Free tickets are available from the sponsors. See the Chronicle ad for details.

Scappoose Bay Watershed Council’s Native Plant Sale Saturday, April 13th

Join the Watershed Council at their Spring Native Plant Sale Saturday, April 13th, from 9 am to 3 pm. This is their semi-annual event to get you ready for spring and summer planting. They have lots of new plants at great prices – all native to our area. Staff and volunteers are available to help chose plants suggest gardening ideas, and provide information on establishing and maintaining native vegetation. For more information see http://www. scappoosebay-wc.org/native-plant-nursery/

The Plant Sale is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the SBWC nursery, located behind Scappoose High School. Look for signs – go east on SE High School Way and turn into the parking lot between the high school and the school ball field areas.

OSU Master Gardener’s™ Spring Garden Fair: Saturday, April 27th

The OSU/Columbia County Master Gardener’s™ Spring Garden Fair at St. Helens High School Commons, 2375 Gable Rd St Helens, OR, will be held on Saturday, April 27th from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. The OSU Master Gardeners™ will sell 5,000 tomatoes in more than 30 varieties, provide tomato and general gardening information, and have a number of educational displays. There will also be many local vendors offering garden plants and other garden related products.

Why lady beetles fly away

Lady beetles spend the winter in rock cavities in the mountains. They are collected for sale when they emerge in the spring. The lady beetles are then cooled and sent to garden centers.

However, in nature, when the lady beetle emerges, it has a certain amount of fat. Its instinct is to fly until the fat is largely used up. Then it looks for some aphids to eat. So when you open up the package, they are still fat and they will still fly away. In addition, there is some concern that collecting for sale may be affecting the native lady beetle population. Best advice is to avoid the widespread use of insecticides and to plant a diverse botanical landscape. The lady beetles will show up.

One challenging plant disease: Phytopthora Root Rot

Phytopthora root rot is a soil fungus that can affect a broad range of plants. Rhododendrons and azaleas, Port Orford cedars, some arborvitaes, junipers and raspberries are the most common Phytopthora affected plants in Columbia County.

The most common symptoms of this root disease are wilting of leaves, browning of leaves and needles, and death of the plant. The disease destroys the vascular tissue and the plant can’t move enough water, nutrients, and sugars from the roots. Part of a root system can be infected and, for a time, the other part not. But it will eventually infect all the roots.

Plants that have the disease but haven’t perished yet will show cinnamon coloration in their major roots, just under the outer root surface. Quick scraping of the rot surface with a pocket knife will tell the tale. A normal root would look creamy white. A dead root won’t show the same color, but it won’t be white either. Since this disease spreads in the soil, it is not uncommon for it to infect one plant and then move laterally to other susceptible plants. This is very common in arborvitae hedges.

The disease is promoted by wet soil conditions. Heavy clay soils found in much of the county hold a lot of water in the winter. New building lots are often stripped of topsoil during construction, leaving only the clay subsoil. This is not a suitable place to plant many species unless steps are taken to improve the drainage.

There are no practical chemical controls for Phytopthora. Management consists of improving drainage with raised beds, planting berms, drain tiles, etc.) or planting species tolerant of poorly drained soils. Once root rot has started in a row of susceptible plants, eventually most, if not all, will die. You can only replant Phytopthora resistant plants once an area has shown the disease. We can provide you with a list of resistant plants.

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