Make the McKenzie Connection!

Articles written by Kym Pokarny

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  • Know what your plants need before fertilizing

    Kym Pokarny, OSU Extension|Jul 7, 2022

    In a perfect world, garden plants would feed themselves. As it is, we've got to help them along sometimes. Plants take up nutrients from the soil but when those nutrients are missing, it's time for fertilizer. "Plants pull out nutrients as they grow," said Weston Miller, a horticulturist with Oregon State University Extension Service. "Unless they're put back in, the plant suffers." But knowing which fertilizer to choose, how much to apply and which plants to feed is not always obvious. Knowing...

  • Slug it out with spring's slimy pests

    Kym Pokarny, OSU Extension|Apr 28, 2022

    Follow the glistening trail and you'll find the gardener's most familiar, frustrating and certainly slimiest pest, the common slug. It's spring, after all, and as soil temperatures start to climb, slugs rise from their winter hiding place underground to munch tender seedlings, emerging perennials and even seeds. "What slugs want is a place that's warm and moist," said Claudia Groth, an Oregon State University Extension Service master gardener. "That's why they're coming out now. The soil tempera...

  • Be kind to your shrubs when you pick up pruners

    Kym Pokarny, OSU Extension|Apr 21, 2022

    You've got clippers in hand, a shrub in mind and a gleam in your eye. It's pruning time. But do you have a plan? Before you clip a stem, know your shrub, said Neil Bell, horticulturist for Oregon State University's Extension Service. "What you want to focus on is flowering time and growth habit," he said. "Certain shrubs you can prune right about now; others you should wait until after they flower." Spring-blooming shrubs like forsythia, mock orange, flowering quince, deutzia and lilac, should...

  • Best ways to weed

    Kym Pokarny|Apr 14, 2022

    Unsightly and seemingly uncontrollable, weeds have a way of taking over the garden in the time it takes to put the hoe away. Keeping weeds under control takes time and patience, but the effort is worth it, said Chip Bubl, horticulturist with Oregon State University Extension Service. Plants - especially vegetables - have a hard time thriving in the company of unwelcome neighbors that compete for water, light and nutrients. Some also harbor pests or diseases. "Weed seedlings are vulnerable to hoe...

  • 15 ways to make gardening easier

    Kym Pokarny, OSU Extension|Apr 7, 2022

    When it comes time to garden, which is almost every day, 83-year-old Jerry Anderson stretches to warm up his muscles, picks up an ergonomic trowel and settles himself on a bucket in front of one of his raised beds. He sees no reason to ever stop his routine. "I've got eight dahlia beds built so I can put one on top of another," said Anderson, who has been an Oregon State University master gardener for 21 years. "That way if I'm in a scooter someday, I can still garden." On the days he's not gard...

  • Pump up your plant knowledge by learning family relationships

    Kym Pokarny|Mar 31, 2022

    Learning to recognize 400,000 species of plants is more than daunting; it's impossible. But making a start by learning how to identify family characteristics can help you manage a healthier garden. "It's important for gardeners to be aware of how to ID plants," said Karen Pleasant, Oregon State University Extension Service master gardener coordinator in Josephine County. "It will tell you what the correct cultural needs are, what kind of problems they may have. Knowing which plants you have...

  • Disease-resistant roses make gardening life easier

    Kym Pokarny|Feb 24, 2022

    Struggling with rose diseases often converts affection to frustration for the millions of gardeners who grow the beloved shrubs. Instead of cursing the big three – black spot, powdery mildew and rust – take the advice of Jay Pscheidt, a plant pathologist with Oregon State University Extension Service, who steers people to roses that enjoy immunity to the threats of these diseases. "Save yourself a lot of hassle and plant disease-resistant roses this spring for trouble-free bouquets in the sum...