Western Mountains and High Plains

February, 2006
Regional Report

Prune Fruit and Ornamental Trees

Now is the time to prune fruit trees and shape shade and ornamental trees. Pruning wounds will heal or close as the new growth resumes later in the year. After bloom, you can prune spring-flowering forsythia, spiraea, Japanese quince, and other early-flowering shrubs.

Plant Bare-Root Trees, Fruits, and Perennials

As soon as the soil can be worked in your garden, it's time to set out bare-root fruit trees, strawberries, raspberries, asparagus, rhubarb, horseradish, grapes, ornamental trees, and perennial flowers. This is a very economical way to add to your landscape, and the roots generally adjust to soil conditions with strong growth. Don't allow the roots to dry out, which can stress or even kill the plant.

Apply Dormant Spray

As the buds begin to swell on ornamental trees, shrubs, and fruit trees, it's time to apply a mixture of the refined horticultural oils to control many insect pests and their overwintering eggs. A mixture of horticultural oil and copper can be applied to reduce disease problems. Keep oil and copper off sidewalks, fences, and walls, where it can stain.

Control Weeds

Enjoy the outdoors while you control weeds at every opportunity you get. Hoe tiny weeds early in the day so the sun and dry conditions will dehydrate the tiny roots. Thoroughly water areas where larger weeds reside to loosen the roots' grip in the soil. This will make it easier to pull the weeds out by hand or to dig them out with a shovel.

Rotate Vegetable Beds

You can reduce the outbreak of diseases that build up in the soil by rotating crops. This age-old practice avoids growing the same kinds of plants in any given area year after year. Where tomatoes and peppers grew last year, plant cucumbers, squash, and melons. Corn can be planted in that spot next year; beans and peas the next; broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower the next; and finally salad crops like lettuce, radish and carrots.

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