Western Mountains and High Plains

November, 2004
Regional Report

Make Compost

Recycle garden debris by making compost piles. Make 3- to 4-inch layers of moistened organic materials, add an inch of soil between layers, and if you have a source of manure, add that too. Pile the compost 3 to 4 feet high, and surround each pile with snow fence to keep it in place. Moisten the compost piles as needed and mix every few weeks.

Protect New Plantings

Mulch newly set divisions of perennials, except iris rhizomes, which are prone to rotting under moist mulch. A layer of organic mulch will help roots establish more fully before the ground freezes solid. Mulch also helps to retain soil moisture for more uniform root development.

Resist the Urge to Prune

Avoid the temptation to prune trees and shrubs during late fall. They do not have the ability or time to close the pruning wounds when they are semi-dormant or dormant. Heavy pruning should be accomplished in mid to late spring when the plants can rapidly heal pruning cuts.

Keep Root Vegetables Cool

Store beets, carrots, turnips, and potatoes at 35 to 45 degrees in lightly moistened sand. Onions and shallots need cool but dry storage in slotted crates or mesh bags. Leave a 2-inch stem on acorn, hubbard, and butternut squash, as well as on umpkins, and store at 50 to 60 degrees. Horseradish, carrots, turnips, and parsnips can tolerate frost; mulched with straw, they can stay in the ground all winter.

Get Rid of Borer-Infested Wood

Be on the watch for firewood beetles. Before spring, burn all firewood cut from pines killed by pine bark beetles. Otherwise, newly hatched beetles may emerge and fly into your live pine trees when warm spring weather arrives. Weakened trees are susceptible to bark beetles, so keep trees healthy.

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