Western Mountains and High Plains
Inspect Stored Bulbs
Check the summer bulbs you stored away this fall. If any are showing signs of rot, cut out the affected parts or toss the worst of the lot. If the storage medium is getting too dry, lightly mist with warm water to prevent fleshy tuberous roots from shriveling up and dying.
Watch for Tiny Mites
Check newly acquired house plants for signs of pests. Spider mites will cause fine webbing on stems and leaves and multiply rapidly in warm conditions of your home. An easy way to prevent a severe invasion is to wash plant leaves, top and bottom, with tepid soapy water (5 to 7 drops of soap to a pint of water). Then rinse with clear water.
Remove Diseased and Dead Wood
During mild winter days, prune dead or diseased branches from deciduous trees and shrubs while they are bare. Crabapples that are prone to the bacterial fire blight disease can be pruned to remove branches that were infected this past season. Properly dispose of prunings to prevent possible infection during the spring.
Use Plant Sleeves in Cold Weather
Protect new indoor plant purchases during the trip to the car if the temperature is cold. Exposure to the cold, even for a short time, can damage tropical plants. They may not freeze or die immediately once they're home, but sudden chills often put them under stress and cause decline. Protect plants with a plant sleeve or a large grocery bag before hauling them to the warmed-up car and make plant purchases your last shopping stop so they get home soon.
A Cure for Cabin Fever
Collect gardening magazines and use them in planning your landscape. They are a great source of information for new and unusual varieties of plants and colorful pictures. Have a good time plotting, scheming and soaking up information. It's a good prescription for cabin fever.