Rocky Mountains

January, 2003
Regional Report

Hose Away the Red Invasion

Get out the garden hose and spray down evergreen shrubs near the foundation. Those reddish clover mites live in the protection of the evergreen needles and actively try to invade the house. Check around the windows and vacuum along the sills. Outdoors, wash the mites off the walls and foundation with a strong stream of water.

Lawns Need Water, Too!

We often forget about our lawns during the cold, winter months. If you have lawn areas in full sun, check the soil for moisture. Without snow cover, turf grasses, especially on south-facing slopes, can suffer severe winter desiccation, and the result will be winter kill in the spring. Set a sprinkler to water dry areas of your lawn during the balmy days of winter in the Rockies.

Clean Houseplants

Here's an easy way to clean houseplant leaves of dust. For smooth leaves of tropical plants, use two pieces of strong, damp paper towel. Hold one under the leaf while you rub the upper side of the leaf. Avoid spraying foliage with leaf-shine materials since they can attract dust and dander.

Study and Plan in Winter

Winter is a good time to resolve to become better acquainted with the uniqueness of Rocky Mountain gardening. The vagaries of weather and alkaline soils can make gardening an unending challenge, but with the right planning and proper selection of plants, you can grow successful lawns and gardens. Plan the garden on paper. It's easier to erase mistakes on paper than to dig up dead plants later in the year.

Use Fluorescent Lights for Seedlings

If you plan to grow your seedlings indoors, use cool white fluorescent lights to provide a good light source and keep the stems from growing long and leggy. Cost is economical, in the $10 to $20 range. Place the fixtures so the fluorescent light tubes are about four inches above the emerging seedlings. Keep the lights on for 14 to 16 hours a day.

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