Western Mountains and High Plains

January, 2007
Regional Report

Assess Storm Damage to Trees

Winter storms often cause large limbs to break or fall, landing on other trees, the house, other structures, or cars. The weight of storm-damaged trees and large shrubs can be great, and larger branches can be dangerous to remove or trim. Contact an arborist to assist you in performing the job in a safe manner, while reducing risk of damage to property. Look under "Tree Care" in a resource directory, or go online to check for reliable arborists in your area.

Provide Food for the Birds

While you're out, check to see if your flowering perennials you left standing have been stripped of their seeds. If so, your winter birds are probably hungry. Consider a bird feeder with black sunflower and thistle seeds. With those two favorites offered, you'll continue to see lots of feathered friends for the rest of the winter.

Replace Old, Tired Plants

No matter how hard you try, you can't always save your houseplants from decline. When they begin to look straggly and weak, it's time to get rid of them or propagate new ones from the mother plant. It's a good thing to treat yourself to new plants every now and then. New shipments of houseplants arrive monthly at local garden centers, so do some shopping for the new year.

Control Gnats

Those tiny black flying insects that fly out from houseplants are most likely fungus gnats. These are, for the most part, harmless to plants, but annoying to us. A simple control is to make their living quarters less comfortable. Allow the surface of potted plants to dry out between waterings. Also, place a layer of coarse gravel or sharp sand, about 1 inch deep, over the soil surface.

Buy New Containers

When you're out shopping, check the garden department. This is the time of year when last year's pots and decorative containers are on sale. New containers help to accent houseplants and will provide a fresh new look. If the containers don't have drainage holes, you can drill holes with a masonry bit.

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