Western Mountains and High Plains

February, 2012
Regional Report

Check Out Your Fruit Trees

During a spell of good weather, walk around your fruit trees to assess what needs pruning. This is the time to mark branches that need cutting with a squirt of red spray paint. Stand back and study the trees' branches to identify ones that are crisscrossing or those that are attached at narrow angles; then flag them for removal.

Give Houseplants a Shower

Take your houseplants to the shower to clean off winter dust from the foliage. Cut an aluminum foil pie plate from rim to the center to place around the stem of each plant. This prevents the soil from washing out and overwatering.

Take Cuttings

Now is the time to take cuttings from overgrown geraniums and wandering Jew plants that are over-wintering in the house. Make cuttings about six inches in length, cutting just below a leaf node. Insert cuttings into moistened potting mix or perlite.

Do Some Hard Pruning

To help rejuvenate and improve the health of red-twig and yellow-twig dogwoods, dwarf Arctic blue willow, blue mist spirea (caryopteris), and summer spirea, cut stems to within four or five inches of the ground. This encourages fresh new growth with more intense color and more flowers.

Prune Out Aspen Galls

Examine aspen trees to spot limbs that are infested with aspen twig galls. Prune out galls that are accessible. They appear as bulbous swellings on the twigs. Most aspen trees are prone to this insect gall and it is not harmful to the trees. Removal of galls is only for aesthetic reason.

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