Elisabeth C. Miller Library

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Search Results for: Rosaceae (Rose Family) | Search the catalog for: Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Vaccinium parvifolium, Shepherdia canadensis, Sambucus cerulea, Rubus leucodermis, Rosa gymnocarpa, Amelanchier alnifolia, Rosa nutkana, Oemleria cerasiformis, Berberis nervosa, Berberis aquifolium, Malus fusca, Prunus virginiana demissa, Prunus emarginata, Quercus garryana, Corylus cornuta, Crataegus douglasii, Rhamnus purshiana, Vaccinium ovatum, Vaccinium ovatum, Umbellularia californica, Rubus spectabilis, Gardening to attract birds, Attracting wildlife, Rosaceae (Rose Family), Gaultheria shallon

I am planning a garden in Seattle and my highest priority is to attract birds. Do you have a list of plants I can use as a reference?


This is a more difficult question than one might imagine. According to Landscaping for Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest, "almost 300 species of birds are native to the Pacific Northwest. Many of them could call your yard home for at least part of the year, depending on what you provide for them. So it depends on what species of birds you want to attract and what environments they need."
Source: Landscaping for Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest, by Russell Link (University of Washington Press, 1999, p. 48).
There is a lot of good advice on planning your garden with birds (and other creatures) in mind.

Washington Native Plant Society has a resource page devoted to native plants for wildlife.

The Miller Library has a booklist featuring titles on attracting wildlife to the garden: Information Resources for Gardening with Wildlife.

Another good source for this information is Native Plants of the Northwest, by Wallace W. Hansen. Scroll down to Wallys Wildlife Habitat Recommendations.
Following is an annotated list of plants that attract birds for western Washington: the oaks, chinquapin, Oregon myrtle, western hazelnut, cascara, and all trees in the Rose family (hawthorn, bitter cherry, chokecherry and Pacific crabapple). Native shrubs include: serviceberry, salal, all Oregon grapes, Indian plum, bittercherry, roses, blackcap, thimbleberry, salmonberry, Pacific blackberry, red and blue elderberries, russet buffaloberry, mountain ash, snowberry, and all huckleberries.

Seattle Audubon's book and online resource, Audubon at Home in Seattle: Gardening for Life has a chapter on designing a garden to attract birds, and it includes a plant list.

Date 2018-07-13
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Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Rosaceae (Rose Family), Rhododendron, Fertilizers

Is it okay to fertilize my rhodies, azaleas, and roses in September? I missed doing it in August.


Generally speaking, it is best not to fertilize your shrubs after mid-summer. The tender new growth that results is susceptible to frost, disease, and insects just at the time of year when the plant is beginning to shut down. This is also true of roses, which are even more tender and susceptible than rhododendrons and azaleas.

An article by Terri Richmond (British Columbia) on the American Rhododendron Society website, entitled Fertilizing Rhododendrons the Organic Way supports the practice of fertilizing in spring. (Keep in mind that azaleas are in the same genus as rhododendrons.)

Oregon State University Extension suggests that budbreak in spring is a good time to fertilize roses, just as new growth is beginning. Stop fertilizing in late summer. Oregon State University also weighs in on fertilizing rhododendrons (if needed, in spring shortly after flowering, and preferably with organic fertilizer).

Date 2018-06-22
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Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Weed control, Rosaceae (Rose Family), Mulching

We recently had a large blue spruce tree cut down and had the stump ground. Would the resulting sawdust be a good mulch for roses?

Also, what is your opinion of using a pre-emergent herbicide for weed control in our rose bed?


Sawdust has high carbon content and may rob soil of nitrogen and moisture. It is also recommended for acid-loving plants and may be problematic for roses. There may also be compaction problems with sawdust, so it may need to be combined with other mulching materials to improve water penetration. Sawdust also decomposes slowly and compacts (Source: Mulch It! by Stu Campbell, Storey Communications Inc., 2001).

You may also be interested in two articles by Linda Chalker-Scott. In Wood chip mulch: Landscape boon or bane, she discusses the pros and cons of wood chip mulch. She also comments on sawdust in an article called The Myth of Pretty Mulch.

If you had spruce chips, they would be fine for mulching roses. Avoid letting mulch touch the main stem; the goal is to pile it on the root system away from the stem. You can remove it in the spring, or at least be sure that it's not too deep. While mulch protects from cold in the winter and drought in the summer, if it's too deep, water cannot get to the root zone of the plant.

I would recommend that you avoid chemicals, as I find that you have to pay more attention when you use them than if you just wander through the garden now and then and pull all the weeds you see.

Pre-emergent weed controls never provide complete weed control. The most important thing to do is weed the area first, as pre-emergents only control weeds that have NOT sprouted. And if you have lots of seeds in the soil, don't expect weed killer to eliminate them all. If water is required, beware of too much water (i.e., rain) that can wash away the herbicide.

Rather than use a chemical, I would weed the area now and then apply mulch. In addition to protecting the roots and soil, the mulch will suppress weeds, possibly until spring. You will have to watch for weeds that do sprout and be sure that you don't let them go to seed. Otherwise, you will set yourself up for lots of future weeding. Chemicals don't really help in situations like that, as you have to time their application perfectly. Hand weeding and mulching--well timed--can work better than any herbicide.

Date 2018-06-22
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