Western Mountains and High Plains

November, 2013
Regional Report

Don't Prune Roses Hard

Don't prune roses back hard in late fall. They can survive much better when healthy canes are left intact since they contain the necessary carbohydrates for winter survival. Only remove broken or diseased canes.

Water Roses Over the Winter

If you live in an area that is deficient in snow cover or rainfall, be sure to provide winter moisture as needed. Roses have a much better survival rate if they are watered during the open, dry periods of late fall and winter. This may need to be done every four to five weeks, depending upon weather conditions. Water at mid-day when temperatures are above 40 degrees F.

Leave Carrots in the Ground

For sweeter carrots from your vegetable garden, winter them directly in the garden. Place cinder blocks on each side of the row, cover the carrot tops with straw, and then top with a piece of plywood cut to fit. When you need to harvest carrots, just tip the plywood to slide off any snow and dig some of the sweet morsels. This technique will work for parsnips, rutabagas, and turnips, too.

Clean Gutters and Downspouts

Remove leaves and pine needles from your rain gutters and downspouts to reduce ice damage to ornamental shrubs and perennial flowers beneath. Cleaning also will prevent ice dams from building up that can back up water underneath roofing materials.

Protect Broadleaf Evergreens

To protect rhododendrons and azaleas over the winter, place wire cages around the base of the plants. Once fitted around the bush, fill with a loose organic mulch, such as shredded cedar mulch or homemade compost. Then top the cage with a sheet of burlap to keep the material in place. For taller plants, build shelters with snow fencing to reduce damage from drying winter winds.

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