Western Mountains and High Plains

January, 2005
Regional Report

Welcome the Snow as a Plant Blanket

Many newcomers to the area are worried that their plants will suffer in the severe cold. Cold snaps should pose few problems for landscape plants if they were properly acclimated before the onset of cold temperatures. Snow -- when it arrives -- will serve as a good insulator for plants.

Keep Compost Handy

Be on the watch for warm spells of weather that may cause bulbs to prematurely start growing and sending up shoots. To delay rapid emergence and frost burn when cold weather sets in, spread a layer of mulch or coarse compost over the green shoots to keep the plants cool, but protected from extreme temperature fluctuations. This will hold in moisture, too!

Gather Natural Pest Control Catalogs

If you want to control insect pests without synthetic pesticides, now is a good time to get on the mailing list for natural pest control catalogs. Integrated Pest Management or IPM utilizes trapping; beneficial insects; crop rotation; and non-toxic, non-polluting pesticides when needed.

Check Outdoor Plants for Scale Pests

Take the opportunity to get outdoors and check aspen, lilac, and ash trees for insect pests called oyster shell scale. These crusty little creatures will stack up on the stems and branches, sapping the life out of the plants. A warm winter day is an excellent time to treat these pests with horticultural dormant oil. This material will effectively control the scale by suffocating the overwintering females and their eggs.

Removing Red Clover Mites

Red clover mites live in the protection of the evergreen needles near the foundation of houses, and actively try to get inside. Get out the garden hose and spray down evergreen shrubs near the house, and vacuum the indoor windowsills to remove any that sneak in through the windows.

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