Hansen's Northwest Native Plant Database


Wallace W Hansen Northwest Native Plant Journal
Northwest Native Plant Newsletter and Journal, June 2002


1 – “To Do” List For Native Plants For June - July

2 – Propagating Native Plants From Cuttings

3 – More Species Web Sites Planned – I May Buy Your Digital Camera Pics!

4 – Propagating From Native Plant Seeds

5 – Sources Of Native Plant Seeds

6 – Sudden Oak Death - SOD – Protect Your Garry (Oregon White) Oaks!

7 – Personal Notes


Garry Oak (Quercus garryana var. garryana) 


1 – “To Do” List For Native Plants For The Summer

A - July and August is mostly a time to protect and take care of your gardens and plants.

Be aware of the water needs of plants you planted out last fall, winter and spring. These plants may not have roots deep enough to survive. When temperatures get above 80 degrees, double your watering. Train you eyes so that when walking about, you can immediately spot a “drooper” and give some water. Most natives do not need summer water after they are well established. In the case of Blueblossom (Ceanothus thrysiflorus), too much water may shorten the life cycle of the plant.

B – Apply mulch generously to conserve water and to keep plants cool. Ground fir bark is the most economical in the northwest. Each area has it’s own favorite mulch. You can put from 3 to 6” of mulch around many shrubs and trees. Sawdust from deciduous trees is fine also but specify hardwood sawdust such as alder, maple or oak.

C – It’s root weevil time again for plants in the Heath family. This includes Madrone, Salal, Rhododendrons and Azaleas. If you see neat square notches on the Rhodie leaves, there is probably a fly form of the root weevil around. The notches on the leaves won’t kill the plant, but the fly lays eggs in the soil and next year the grubs kill the roots. If you use sprays, the best may be Orthene (spray in evening at dusk). I routinely drench my Heath family plants with live Nematodes. These beneficial insects eat the grubs but not angleworms. You buy nematodes fresh in small sponges, dissolve in water and pour a pint around the roots of each plant – then water in. The soil must be 55 degrees for the nematodes to be active. Bright sunlight kills nematodes and they drown if too long in water. Nematodes are very effective if handled right although some folks are skeptical.

2 –Propagating From “Summer Time” Semi – Hardwood Cuttings

This is the most important time of the year for propagating native plants by cuttings. Here are some tips to increase your “strike” rate.


If you are just starting, you might use liquid rooting compounds instead of powders - a little easier. Make a clean cut just below the lower bud. In addition, about ˝” higher up, scrape the top layer of bark off a small area before dipping in rooting liquid. Sometimes roots will grow from this small “wound.” Never let the cuttings dry out. Harvest early in the morning, keep in plastic bags with some water, process immediately or store in a refrigerator. Wood this time of the year should be from this spring’s growth, not too stiff, not too limber, not to thick, not too thin. Do not use material that has blemishes, rust, etc – only perfectly clean wood and leaves. Leave only one or two leaves on the cutting. If the leaves are large, cut part off with a clean scissors. Remember moisture flows from the roots upward through the leaves. Big leaves may expire too much moisture. Balance roots and leaves. You must keep summer cuttings always moist during daylight hours. You can buy misting equipment or “jerry-rig” something yourself. You can cover the cuttings with generous, airtight plastic in a sort of balloon, with water inside to keep the inner air saturated. To see if roots are developing, gently tug at the cutting stem. If resistance, there are roots. Once roots develop, you must give mild liquid feed and treat these “babies” very gently – keep protected until Fall – do not pop them out in full sunlight in your garden yet.


Don’t give up. Propagating by cuttings is an art, to be learned slowly. Propagating by cuttings is a necessary skill for all you native plant gardeners!

3 – More Species Web Sites Planned – I May Buy Your Digital Camera Pictures!


NOTE FROM JENNIFER: This topic is no longer relevant, however it does show some of Wally's plans for the website. Now that the nursery is gone and Wally has passed on to another realm, I have taken up the scepter and it is my great joy to continue the growth he dreamed of providing as a repository of information about our beloved northwest native plants. This topic, as Wally wrote it, gives a nostalgic glimpse of his wonderful spirit.


I am expanding my web sites to include many more separate sites covering one species per site. Each of these sites will strive to be a complete reference – description, range, culture, disease, propagation, uses, etc. All will be accessible through my home page www.nwplants.com. I will include photos and paintings. I want to include pictures that will illustrate the life and seasonal stages of a plant and the appearance of stands of plants in a natural setting. I am going to need a lot of pictures in digital, JPEG format taken throughout the year and the plant life cycle. Most of this will be done “in-house” but I am always interested in buying digital photos, which I still need. If you are interested, let me know. You might have some fun, gain some experience and earn a little extra - plus your name will be shown with the pictures.


I have nine new sites ready to go on line in July, including five native cedars and four native roses – I think you will enjoy! Keep watching my home page www.nwplants.com - better add to your “favorites.”

4 – Propagating Native Plants From Seeds

Propagating from seed is another skill each native plant gardener needs. It is not as simple as growing vegetables or annual flowers. Start right now to find sources of seed and plan collection carefully – don’t procrastinate – many living creatures want that seed! Collection of native seeds starts in July and runs thru November. I have maturing seed everywhere in my gardens – I am watching iris and camas very closely.


Collect, clean, dry (not too dry!), label and store seeds in a cool place. Native perennials and annuals are easier to grow from seed than native shrubs and trees. Mother Nature has many built in survival features built into shrub and tree seeds. Most have a winter dormancy that must be resolved. In nature, the seeds lay in the ground over winter. In the spring the seeds soften, water enters and growth starts. However, it is not quite that simple. You can control the cold stratification process yourself and ensure more germination. You can pack seeds in a damp medium such as sand or peat, in a plastic bag and then into the refrigerator for periods from 4 weeks to six months. They must be moist but not soaking wet. They must be turned from time to time and checked for germination. Take Indian Plum for example. I place the clean seed in moist sand in October and refrigerate at about 34 degrees. I start checking for signs of germination in February. When they start to swell and show a tiny fleck of growth, I sow them into flats in a greenhouse. Different species have different times for cold moist stratification.


For some species this is not enough to break dormancy. Supplemental methods include acid scarification: carefully place seeds in concentrated Sulfuric Acid from a few seconds to several minutes. The acid eats the hard seed coat away allowing the seed to imbibe moisture and start to grow (or completely destroys the seed!). Sometimes the seeds must first be dipped into boiling water. Some seeds lay in the ground for centuries until a forest fire cracks the seed coat and germination starts. I did germinate some Viburnum edule by building a straw fire over a seed flat. Even then it took 2 more years to germinate. As a beginner, go through the cold moist stratification process unless you know better. Otherwise, plant outdoors in the late fall and let winter break the dormancy.


For perennial seeds, I suggest fall planting in seed flats. First hydrate the soil mix by placing a flat filled with soil in a tub of water for 10 minutes. Then let this dry for 24 hours in the shade. Then plant the seeds and cover with a thin kitchen plastic. This keeps the moisture in. When germination starts, remove the plastic and “grow on.” You need all your skills to keep these delicate “new-born plants” alive and growing – warmth, light, fertilizer, protection!

5 – Sources Of Native Plant Seeds

I buy some seeds that we cannot collect ourselves. The following two sources have always given me good service and they collect a large variety of northwest plant seeds.

Inside Passage

P.O.Box 639

Port Townsend, WA 98368
M-F, 9 AM-4 PM Pacific Time: 1-800-361-9657; local, outside the U.S. call:
FAX: (360) 385-5760
E-mail: inspass@whidbey.net


Name - Steve Erickson

Company - Frosty Hollow Ecological Restoration

Address - Box 53

                  Langley, WA 98260

Primary Phone - (360) 579-2332

Secondary Phone - (360) 579-2332

Fax - (360) 579-4080

Email - wean@whidbey.net

Products - Seed


6 - Sudden Oak Death - SOD – Protect Your Garry (Oregon White) Oaks!

Be aware of a serious disease among certain oaks. Mostly in California. This is caused by Phytophthora ramorum, a fungus-like organism. In California, it has killed Tanoaks, Coast Live Oaks, and Black Oaks. It has not gotten into Oregon except one spot near the California border, near the city of Brookings, in Curry County, Oregon. Very serious efforts are being made in California to control/eliminate this disease. Likewise, serious efforts are being made by the Department of Agriculture in Oregon, to eliminate the disease in Curry County and to prevent any more spreading. The Oregon Department of Agriculture has inspected my nursery – no disease was found and no disease has been reported in Oregon except the small occurrence near the California border, about 300 miles south of here.

It would be a disaster if this got into our Oregon White Oak. They are steadily declining anyway because of many other reasons. Protect your Oregon Oak if you have any. If you walk on soil or drive on soil in Curry County, Oregon or in California, wash your shoes and car tires and whatever, before coming north. This disease can be carried by infected soil. It can be carried on host plants including members of the Heath family. I have many Oregon Oaks in my gardens. I am worried. I and the folks who help me, are all on high alert to keep this disease away. My attitude is “Beware of plants from California and Curry County, Oregon, for now.”

From the Oregon Public Broadcasting website: www.opb.org/programs/ofg/segments/view/1584

Sudden Oak Death in Oregon

For questions about SOD in forests:

  • Contact: Everett Hansen, Oregon State University

  • Tel: 541-737-5243

For questions about SOD in nursery plants:

  • Contact: Jennifer Parke, Oregon State University

  • Tel: 541-737-8170

And the Oregon Department of Forestry has updated news at www.oregon.gov/ODF/newsroom/newsreleases/2011/NR1162.shtml

7 – Personal Notes - “The Glory Of The Garden”

Again, the awesome summer season is here – A time to relax a bit after the frantic spring. My gardens crowd up against my office window – cedars, willows, Garry Oaks, Douglas Firs and on and on. I read again (and again) a poem by one of my heroes – Rudyard Kipling – “The Glory Of The Garden.” Kipling wrote about English gardens but all gardens are glorious, especially native plant gardens. All societies of all ages and beliefs recognized the deep down, emotional relationship of man (male and female) and gardens. Many religions are based on the Old Testament – The Garden of Eden - Adam, the original gardener. It is healing, relaxing, comforting and fills a basic genetic need that goes back through time to the beginning. Here is a selected quote from “The Glory Of The Garden.”

“There’s not a pair of legs so thin, there’s not a head so thick,

There’s not a hand so weak and white, nor yet a heart so sick.

But it can find some needful job that’s crying to be done,

For the Glory of the Garden glorifieth every one.”

“ . .Then seek your job with thankfulness and work till further orders.”

E-mail comments are welcome. (Note from Jennifer: As did Wally, I also welcome your email comments!)

Good Luck!


Contact:  star@chillirose.com ~ Copyright 2011 © Wallace W. Hansen ~ All rights reserved