Western Mountains and High Plains

November, 2012
Regional Report

Protect Tree Bark

Protect newly planted and young, thin-barked trees from sunscald injuries by wrapping the trunks with a reflective tree wrap, or use the white plastic tree guards. These materials help to reflect bright sunlight and prevent the bark from heating up on a winter day and subsequently cracking when temperatures plummet at night.

Transplant Non-blooming Perennials

If you have old peony plants that have failed to bloom because of too much shade, consider moving them to a sunnier area. Lift up the entire clump now that they are dormant. Dig a new hole 18 to 20 inches deep and add compost to the backfill soil. Set the cleaned peony clump in the hole with the eyes only an inch below the soil surface.

Avoid Hard Cutting Back

You may notice that the leaves of grape hyacinths, bearded iris, and Dutch iris are still green and upright. Don't get the urge to cut them back. Instead leave them untouched since this is perfectly normal for these perennials in late fall and early winter. You can cut them back next spring as they dry and begin to bend over.

Still Time to Plant Spring-blooming Bulbs

Look for bargains at the garden department, especially half-price sales on spring-flowering bulbs. You still have time to plant these until the ground is frozen solid. After digging the planting site, add a generous supply of compost and sprinkle a granular 5-10-5 fertilizer before planting the bulbs. Place at the proper depths, cover, and water them in thoroughly.

Dig and Store Dahlias

If you haven't dug your dahlias up yet, take time on a comfortably warm day to get out the spading fork and lift their tuberous roots. Do this before the ground freezes solid or the roots will be killed. Store the clump of tuberous roots in plastic produce storage bags. Lightly pack moistened sphagnum peat moss around the fleshy roots. Store at 45 to 50 degrees.

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