Western Mountains and High Plains

April, 2007
Regional Report

Choose Healthy Roots

When you decide on a shrub or tree, slide the rootball out of the container so you can inspect the roots. Healthy roots are white and vigorous. Avoid waterlogged soil mixes with the stench of swamp, or rootballs with little or no signs of root growth.

Pamper Bare-Root Roses

If your bare-root roses are slow to start once planted, give them an extra boost. Place a large, 3- to 5-gallon bucket upside down over the bush. This creates a greenhouse-like environment to pamper them along. Roses will break buds more readily and start to establish roots.

Stagger Vegetable Plantings

You can enjoy a longer harvest season of cool-season veggies if you stagger your sowing times. Plant peas, radishes, spinach, leaf lettuce, and beets every few weeks up to the end of May. Planting smaller batches of crops at different times allows you to harvest longer into the summer.

Plant Dahlia Tubers in Pots

Get a head start on dahlia plants by potting up the tuberous roots in 1-gallon pots. Use a good potting mixture and grow in a sunny window or patio. Once the plants are up and growing, you can take stem cuttings and root them. Plant outdoors after all danger of frost has passed in your area.

Divide Perennials

As the soil becomes workable, lift and divide perennials that bloom in summer and fall. If your soil is hard and full of clay, add a generous shovelful of compost to the new planting site. This will enhance root regeneration and get the plants off to a strong start. Water new divisions in thoroughly and pot up extras to share with gardening friends.

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