Rocky Mountains

November, 2000
Regional Report

Winterize Sprinkler Systems

If you have an automatic sprinkler system and drip irrigation tubes in your landscape, it's time to winterize them. That means draining the system to prevent frost damage to the above-ground vacuum breaker and sprinkler heads. Also, blowing out the lines and drip irrigation tubes with an air compressor can eliminate standing water in the lines.

Control Gnats

Now that your houseplants have had time to acclimate to indoor conditions of less light and warmer temperatures, it\'s a good idea to look them over for insect pests. If tiny black fungus gnats are flitting about, you can use a homemade remedy to get rid of them. Place a wine glass filled with a 1/ 4 inch of wine (or vinegar if you prefer) in the vicinity. The tiny black flies are attracted to the liquid, crawl in, and meet their demise.

Don't Prune Evergreens

Avoid the temptation to prune evergreens this time of year. If they're sheared in late fall, particularly before cold weather, evergreens may turn yellow and brown at the tips. The best time to accomplish major pruning of evergreens is spring, before or just during new growth expansion.

Plant Small Bulbs

Bigger isn't always better when it comes to spring flowers. With mild fall weather, don't forget to plant some small or "minor" bulbs to bloom in spring, such as snowdrops, crocus, winter aconites, snow iris, squills, glory-of-the-snow, Grecian windflowers, and grape hyacinths. Though they're smaller in stature than tulips and daffodils, they're big in natural beauty.

Making Club Sandwich Compost

Instead of bagging fallen leaves and sending them to the landfill, add them to your compost pile. In the compost bin, make a 2-inch layer of leaves, then add a 1-inch layer of soil. Continue this process to make what we call a "club sandwich" compost pile. Keep the pile moist and turn it every few weeks to hasten decomposition.

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