Western Mountains and High Plains

November, 2010
Regional Report

Depending upon your area, it's time to apply mulch

Spread organic mulch around perennial flowers and shrubs for additional winter protection. Often termed "winter mulching," this is done to prevent the alternate freezing and thawing that can occur with the region's fluctuating winter temperatures. It is important to wait until the ground is frozen before the mulch is applied. Use organic materials such as pine needles, coarse compost, shredded cedar aspen shavings.

Clear away tall grasses and weeds from around trees

Fruit trees, ornamental trees and shrubs can be attacked by four-legged critters. Removing bunches of tall grasses and weeds will eliminate the hiding places and habitat for rodents that will nibble on bark through the winter. Rabbits, gophers, meadow mice and voles can gnaw on bark tissue which will result in severe damage to the plants.

Keep a watch on newly planted landscape plants

It's critical for newly planted trees and shrubs to have adequate moisture in the root zone during late fall and throughout the winter. Plants that suffer from lack of water are more likely to die from winter desiccation. Keep the garden hose handy and ready to give plants a good drink during dry spells. Apply water early in the day when air temperatures are above freezing and when the ground is not frozen.

Prolong cyclamen blooms

If you receive a Christmas cyclamen for the holidays, keep it in a cool, but brightly lit, location. This flowering plant does best in a north or northeast window. It will tolerate temperatures as low as 50 degrees. It likes moist soil; avoid soggy conditions and fertilize lightly once a month. The plant will go dormant in April, with new growth in September.

Plant amaryllis now

Those giant bulbs of amaryllis are available now and ready to plant. You can buy the kit or plant in good potting soil. Select a clay pot with some weight to support the tall stalks and blooms. Plant the bulb with two-thirds buried in the soil and the top one-third exposed. Follow care instructions for watering and light.

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