Western Mountains and High Plains

January, 2007
Regional Report

Keeping your Poinsettia

If you want to keep your Christmas poinsettia, make preparations to prune it back to remove the fading bracts. Cut off the flower just above a leaf and new leaf growth will soon appear. Fertilize with a 5-10-5 fertilizer on a monthly basis. The plant will grow as a nice, full, green houseplant.

Getting Rid of Pesky White Flies

You can eliminate a severe invasion of whiteflies on indoor flowering plants by using a small hand-held vacuum. This handy tool will scoop up whiteflies that have set up housekeeping on your plants. Disturb the foliage with one hand while moving the vacuum around quickly.

Clean Eaves and Troughs

Remove leaves, branches, and other debris from gutters, troughs, and downspouts. This will prevent ice damage to ornamental shrubs and perennial flowers beneath. Cleaning will also reduce the formation of ice dams that can back up water underneath roofing material.

Forego Spreading Wood Ashes on Garden Soils

Disaster can be the outcome when too many wood ashes are sprinkled onto Rocky Mountain garden soils. The majority of soils throughout the region, with the exception of some mountain soils, are alkaline. Wood ashes have the same effect as lime, sweetening or increasing the alkalinity. This will aggravate mineral and nutrient availability to plants.

Leave Snow Alone

It's best to leave the snow accumulations on low-lying shrubs and ground covers. Snow is nature's best insulator for reducing the freezing and thawing effect that often occurs during winter warm spells.

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