Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Western Mountains and High Plains

December, 2007
Regional Report

Recycle Evergreen Trimmings

Evergreen cuttings and small branchlets are good for mulching around tender perennials and shrubs. Overlap the cuttings around the root systems of plants that need protection from wind and moisture loss. This will also reduce heaving of the soil.

Avoid Salting the Snow and Ice

Runoff that is contaminated with salts can harm landscape plants and turf. Instead of salt products, sprinkle coarse sand, gravel, sawdust, or a lawn fertilizer on icy patches for better footing. This will keep plants safe from toxic salts.

Check Soil Moisture Against Buildings

Plantings under the protection of the house eaves often lack adequate moisture. If the weather remains warm for prolonged periods or if there is no snow cover around evergreen shrubs or ground covers, they can suffer from desiccation. A good deep watering early on a warm day will provide moisture in the soil to ensure that plants survive.

Prune Carefully

Prune dead or damaged branches back to the origin of the branch attachment. Don't leave a large stub that will invite more decay. Prune outside the branch collar so the cut will heal properly. You don't have to apply a wound dressing.

Inspect for Critter Damage

On warmer days of winter, check around evergreen shrubs and ground covers for signs of critter damage. Meadow mice and voles can quickly gnaw at the bark and roots of evergreens. If nests or trailing runs are found, take action to control these pests by trapping or using repellents.


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