Western Mountains and High Plains

November, 2005
Regional Report

Protecting Tender Shrubs

To protect rhododendrons and azaleas over the winter, place wire cages around the base of the plants. Once fitted around the bush, fill with a loose organic mulch, such as shredded cedar mulch or homemade compost. Then top the cage with a sheet of burlap to keep the material in place. For taller plants, build shelters with snow fencing to reduce damage from drying winter winds.

Vacuum Away Pests

If you accidentally brought some pesky whiteflies indoors with your potted plants, get rid of them by using a small hand-held vacuum. Lightly disturb the foliage with one hand while moving the vacuum around the plant quickly. This handy tool will scoop up the critters without harming the foliage.

Leave Carrots in the Ground

Fpr sweeter carrots from your vegetable garden, winter them directly in the garden. Place cinder blocks on each side of the row, cover the carrot tops with straw, and then top with a piece of plywood cut to fit. When you need to harvest carrots, just tip the plywood to slide off any snow and dig some of the sweet morsels. This technique will work for parsnips, rutabagas, and turnips, too.

Cut Back on Watering

Prevent an invasion of fungus gnats around your indoor plants by cutting back on watering. These tiny, black flies seem to build up in wet potting mixtures and underneath plant debris. With shorter days, most houseplants don't require frequent waterings.

Clean Eaves, Gutters, and Downspouts

Remove leaves and pine needles from your rain gutters and downspouts to reduce ice damage to ornamental shrubs and perennial flowers beneath. Cleaning also will prevent ice dams from building up that can back up water underneath roofing materials.

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