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Gardening in Washington State

Archive for March 2014

Recognizing Sapsucker Damage to Your Trees

Sapsuckers, a species of woodpecker, are a common cause of tree damage in yards and small woodlands. This damage is easy to identify. Sapsuckers peck holes in the bark of the tree that are approximately 1/4 inch in diameter and are drilled in horizontal and vertical rows. There are usually many holes close together.

Sapsucker damage

Sapsucker damage

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Sapsuckers will feed on both hardwoods and conifers. They prefer foraging on trees with thin bark, such as birch. Older conifers with thick and ridged bark are not as susceptible to sapsucker-caused damage. If the damage is limited and minor, the tree will recover.

The most commonly recommended damage control method is to wrap burlap around the affected area to discourage sapsuckers from returning. Liquid spray repellents applied to the tree bark can also be used as well as hanging bright, shiny objects such as pie tins, streamers, or beach balls on the tree as scare devices. These techniques may or may not be effective, and they may just shift the bird’s focus to another part of the tree or to a neighboring tree.

For more information on sapsucker damage to trees, go to

Submitted by: Dave Pehling, March 17 2014


Growing Green Peas in Home Gardens

There are two main types of peas: those with an inedible pod, such as shelling (garden) peas, and edible-pod peas, such as snow or sugar snap peas. Green pea varieties also grow on two different plant types—bush or vine.

Early plantings tend to produce larger yields than plantings later in the season. Peas thrive in cool, moist weather and produce best in cool, moderate climates; sow directly into the ground when the temperature is at least 50°F, and the soil is dry enough to till without it sticking to garden tools.

For more information on growing peas in your home garden, go to

Green pea
Photo source:

Submitted by: Sheila Gray, March 10, 2014


Growing Radishes in Home Gardens

Time of planting: spring/summer types – mid-March in western Washington and mid-April in eastern Washington.

Radish (Raphanus sativus) is a vegetable that is easy to grow and comes in a wide variety of root colors, shapes, and sizes providing for a range of end uses. Depending upon the cultivar, radish can be grown in window boxes or small containers on a patio, interplanted among slower growing vegetable rows in the garden, or even sprouted year-round in jars on the kitchen counter. Because radish usually germinates in just 3 to 7 days, it is a good choice when introducing children to gardening.
To access WSU’s free fact sheet on growing radishes, go to

Provided by: Catherine Daniels, March 3, 2014


Gardening in Washington State, Puyallup Research and Extension Center

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