Western Mountains and High Plains

November, 2006
Regional Report

Fertilize Homegrown Poinsettia Plant

If you're trying to rebloom your plant from last year, apply a complete 10-10-10 soluble fertilizer once it has been in dark treatment for a month. Once the bracts turn color, you can discontinue the dark treatment and enjoy the plant throughout the holidays.

Purge Drip-Irrigation Systems

To help reduce the buildup of salts, minerals, and sediment, and avoid cracked tubing, flush drip systems before the soil freezes. Remove end caps from the main lines, turn the water on for 5 to 10 minutes, then shut it off. Make sure all the water has drained out, then replace the end caps. Above-ground ooze systems will last longer if drained and stored in the garden shed, garage, or basement.

Send For Seed and Plant Catalogs

Now is the time to get a supply of catalogs to have handy for the cold, dreary days of winter. They make for some great fireside reading and fire your imagination for next year's garden season. Look for regional nurseries and seed suppliers that offer varieties particularly suited to your growing region.

Mulch for Winter

After the soil has frozen it's time to spread compost, clean straw, shredded leaves, or shredded wood mulch to protect perennial flowers and vegetables, bulbs, new shrubs and trees, and strawberry beds. Winter mulch helps to conserve soil moisture and minimizes freezing and thawing of the ground, which can heave plants out of the soil.

Protect Tree Bark From Chewing Varmints

Clean away tall vegetation from around tree trunks so rabbits, gophers, mice, and voles can't hide there and gnaw on the bark. Protect trunks with a 2-foot-high wire-mesh collar (form the collar loose enough so it doesn't touch the bark) sunk a few inches below the soil surface.

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