Western Mountains and High Plains

November, 2008
Regional Report

Keep Garden Hose Handy for Late-Fall Watering

Warm, windy days can deplete the soil and plants of moisture. It's important for plant survival that the soil be charged with available moisture so our landscape plants don't suffer from a moisture deficit. Apply water when temperatures are above freezing and early enough in the day to allow the water to soak in. Pay particular attention to south and west exposures and plants situated on slopes.

Don't Mow Your Lawn Too Short in the Fall

Avoid the antiquated practice of "scalping" the 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 scalps the grasses' crowns. Maintain a mowing height of 2 to 2-1/2 inches. This will help to 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. Otherwise, forced air blowing across the leaves and stems makes them more vulnerable to leaf scorch or burnt leaf tips from desiccation. Our indoor air is dry enough that plants will benefit from extra humidity from pebble trays or a furnace humidifier.

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 one 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 Out Damaged or Broken Branches

The latest snow storms 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 prune away jagged edges. If needed, contact a professional and licensed tree service to tackle the larger branches, especially near utility lines.

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