Western Mountains and High Plains

November, 2006
Regional Report

Keep Garden Hose Handy

Warm, windy days can deplete the soil and plants of moisture. Apply water when temperatures are above freezing, and early enough in the day to allow the water to soak in. Pay particular attention to southern and western exposures and plants situated on slopes.

Don't Mow Your Lawn Too Short

Avoid the antiquated practice of "scalping" your lawn for its last mowing of the season. Grasses mowed too short in our region are more susceptible to drought injury and wind burn. You can lower the mowing height by a notch but not so low that it damages the grass crowns. Maintain a mowing height of 2 to 2-1/2 inches. This will help reduce excessive moisture loss, shade the soil, and insulate the grass from temperature fluctuations.

Keep Houseplants Away From Direct Heat

When locating your houseplants, avoid placing them near heat vents where forced air blows across the leaves and stems. This makes them more vulnerable to leaf scorch or burnt leaf tips from desiccation. Our indoor air is so dry that plants benefit from a humidifier or pebble trays to increase the humidity.

Cut Back Spent Flowers

As the frost finishes off the chrysanthemum flowers and the snow spreads open the plant, take time to cut down the plant by half. This reduces the stress on the stems but will allow enough natural growth to protect the plant over the winter. Also, the remaining stems will catch snow to provide moisture during dry periods.

Prune Damaged or Broken Branches

The latest snowstorms may have put extra weight on branches that had not lost all their leaves. Some branches that were severely cracked or broken in a storm will need to be removed. Make clean cuts and remove jagged edges. If needed, contact a professional and licensed tree service to tackle the larger branches, especially near utility lines.

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