December 8, 2023

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Watchful winter season pruning may support stay away from disturbing early nesting hummingbirds: Check with an specialist

We’ve handed the wintertime solstice and that suggests we’re on the way to spring and the gardening year. If you have received issues, convert to Ask an Skilled, an on the net issue-and-answer device from Oregon State University’s Extension Service. OSU Extension college and Master Gardeners reply to queries inside two business times, typically less. To ask a problem, simply go to the OSU Extension site and variety in a dilemma and the county where you are living. Below are some issues requested by other gardeners. What’s yours?

Q: I have Anna’s hummingbirds 12 months spherical who nested in my lawn last spring. A neighbor posted that these birds mate starting in December. My problem is how before long do they nest immediately after mating? I normally have all my trees and shrubs cut way back again in the late winter season (February and early March) and never want to disturb any nests. – Marion County

A: This is a terrific issue, and well worth thinking about as you determine when to do your wintertime pruning.

I identified this on the Audubon Society’s web page about Anna’s hummingbird nesting: “May get started nesting in December, or even previously. In courtship show, male hovers in midair, supplying buzzy music, then flies significantly higher he then dives steeply towards the female, earning a loud explosive popping seem at the base of the dive. Also buzzes back and forth in front of woman in shorter shuttling flights. Nest website is variable, usually on a department of tree or shrub, at times in vines, on wires, below eaves. Commonly 4-25 ft above floor, can be decreased or bigger. Nest (built by woman) is a compact cup of plant fibers and spider webs, lined with plant down and at times feathers, the exterior camouflaged with lichens.”

It is probable that you have nesting pairs right now, so treatment in selecting branches to prune is a fantastic strategy. You may wish to observe for a period of time wherever the birds are flying regularly to get an concept of attainable nest areas. If you occur to see trees frequented commonly that you system to prune, examine all those branches for evidence of nest creating. As mentioned in the description previously mentioned, the nests are normally camouflaged, and really large off the ground, so it may be a challenge to locate nests. Some taller branches are made use of as territorial perches, so even if you see the birds use a tree, it doesn’t suggest it is the nesting tree. Leaving some taller branches for this kind of habits may possibly be value looking at as you program your pruning. If you are worried that you may well disturb nesting, you may look at pruning later in the wintertime, nearer to the tail finish of pruning year in March.

This OSU Extension post on tree pruning is a valuable guideline. It endorses pruning involving November and March. – Jason O’Brien, OSU Extension Learn Naturalist statewide coordinator


Whiteflies are not likely to be energetic in the backyard garden throughout winter. Graphic by USDA Agricultural Exploration Company

Q: Would an software of neem oil through wintertime (December by means of March as a dormant oil) on days above freezing temperatures be suitable? White flies have infested my yard in particular in hellebore and western sword fern beds. Programs of castile liquid soap sprays in the night and cutting back again all ferns to the ground very last February didn’t slow down the infestation. I experienced hoped the soaps would thoroughly clean off active bugs.

What can be done ahead of next spring’s development of crops and insect populace, and throughout the development time? The residence is in an lively watershed full of indigenous birds, wild bee populations, and other effective insects, and native frogs, and which want defense from nearly anything toxic. – Washington County

A: Neem oil is a fungicide, an insecticide and a miticide. Nonetheless, like other topicals (as opposed to systemic pesticides), it is successful only when used at the right phase of the pest’s everyday living. Here is a reality sheet on it. I doubt that your insect populace is active now, so any insecticide software will be useless. Below is an outstanding Extension post on this pest, with a variety of management recommendations. – Kris LaMar, OSU Extension Learn Gardener

Q: We want to plant 200-plus evergreen trees zig-zag alongside our neighborhood park border. We want to plant 4-year-aged seedlings on the berm, which is 6 to 7 inches of great topsoil and clay subsoil. What conifers do you propose? Can you we novices to planting instructions? – no county specified

A: Your preference of conifer relies upon on your geography and climate as nicely as the soil situation. It also depends on the topographic place. Clay soils in low or flat areas usually continue to be as well soaked to assist healthful roots for several species. But some clay soils on hillslopes or other perfectly drained topography can be pretty successful for conifers.

In this article is a reference with some scores of tolerance and other tips for establishing indigenous trees.

Willamette Valley ponderosa pine normally tolerates and roots into equally clayey and rocky subsoil. Most other native conifers are not satisfied on damp clay. Western redcedar could tolerate a moist clay subsoil, but it is vulnerable in drought a long time with shallow rooting depth on clay.

In northwest Oregon, Douglas-fir specially does not do effectively on hefty clay that is improperly drained.

When it arrives to exotic ornamental species, you may possibly have a lot more possibilities of conifers, but that is not my space of abilities. – Glenn Ahrens, OSU Extension forestry specialist

Q: The 3 clumped, pretty tall spruce trees in my Lincoln City garden have enormous uncovered roots. I want to make some improvements in my yard that could incorporate leveling the floor rather. It would (or would not) require placing soil over 50% (south facet of trees) of the uncovered roots, which operate throughout the width of the yard. Is this a good or poor concept? If I do place some topsoil on the roots, is there a restrict to the sum? I would leave 50% of the roots (north sides) as is, uncovered. – Lincoln County

A: It is not advised that soil depth be modified, possibly far more or considerably less, for founded trees. Tree roots basically take up air by exposed roots, and masking them with soil as small as 4 to 6 inches deep dramatically reduces air and drinking water (which has dissolved nutrition in it). Right here is an Extension post on tree treatment with guidance on this. Possibly you can contemplate potted plants, staggered above the spot. – Kris LaMar, OSU Extension Grasp Gardener

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