Southwestern Deserts

December, 2011
Regional Report

Maintain Flowering Holiday Plants

Soggy soil is the worst thing for poinsettia, Christmas cacti, cyclamen and other holiday plants. Maintain consistent, moderate soil moisture. Put plants in bright light indoors. Outdoors in the shade of a tree canopy is also good, but never leave them out overnight or if temperature drops below 50 degrees F.

Propagate Christmas Cactus

After the bloom and holiday season is over, cut off a stem with four or five joints. Insert the end into a pot of moist (but not wet) potting soil. Place a plastic bag over the cutting, so that it doesn't touch the plant material, and secure it around the pot with a rubber band. Place in bright light but not direct sun. Rooting takes a month or so.

Recycle Cut Christmas Trees

Check with your local municipality for times and locations of tree recycling centers in your area. This information is often available in local newspapers, or try the parks department or waste removal department. They typically have giant shredders that convert the trees to mulch for parks or public plantings. Alternatively, recycle the tree as mulch for your property.

Get Exercise and Rake Up Leaves

If you are growing a cool-season ryegrass lawn, it is especially important to remove leaves regularly. The turf needs to absorb sun to photosynthesize and fallen leaves inhibit this process. Toss the leaves into the compost pile or spread them across garden beds or around landscape plants as beneficial organic matter and mulch.

Collect Pecans Promptly

When nuts drop, collect them quickly, shell them, and store in airtight containers in the freezer. This keeps them fresh and tasty for about one year. Otherwise, they turn rancid with exposure to air and warm sun.

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