Southwestern Deserts

December, 2011
Regional Report

Maintain Fresh Christmas Trees

Extend the healthy appearance of a live cut tree by sawing off about one inch of the trunk immediately before installing it in the tree stand and filling the base with water. (If you can not do this yourself, most places that sell trees will do it for you, but drive home immediately with your cut tree and put it in the tree stand. If the tree is strapped to your car for hours while you run errands, it will seal the cut.) The tree will absorb significant water at first, so check daily and replenish as needed. After several days to a week, water absorption tapers off, but continue to check regularly. If the tree dries out, the needles will dry anddrop, and the tree becomes a fire hazard.

Bring Pyracantha Indoors for Holiday Decor

Branches laden with bright red berries lend natural beauty to your festivities. Watch out for thorns when trimming the stems.

Order Warm-Season Seeds

Transplanting of tomato, pepper, and eggplant isn't that far away! Unusual heirloom varieties may sell out. Order early to get what you want and to have seeds ready for indoor planting.

Encourage New Gardeners with Your Advice and Gift Pack

A fun holiday gift for gardeners doesn't have to be expensive. Tuck an item or two that you use regularly into a pretty pot, along with a list of your other favorite items and resources. How about a gardening book geared to local conditions, comfortable gloves, or samples of your saved seeds that are reliable performers?

Drain and Store Hoses for Winter

Water left in hoses can cause them to crack when it freezes. If you are a high desert elevation gardener, drain and store hoses. If you may need to water evergreens (which continue to use moisture in winter) or fall transplants because winter precipitation turns out to be scant, store the hoses where you have easy access.

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