Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Western Mountains and High Plains

September, 2009
Regional Report

Clean Up House Plants

If you've been "summering" some of your house plants outside, remember to clean them up before returning them to the indoors. Gently hose them down with tepid water and a mild soap solution (one teaspoon mild liquid dish washing detergent to a gallon of water). This will not only clean the foliage but dislodges many insect pests and their eggs. Don't forget to check the underside of plant containers for those piggy-back" pests including sowbugs, earwigs, slugs and millipedes. Get rid of them so they can't take up residence in your home.

Keep the Water Garden Clean of Falling Leaves

Remove all debris from water gardens with a rake or net. Cover the pool during leaf fall or you'll have a swampy mess. Use old window or door screens that can be supported over the water feature with 2-by-4s. You can also use shade cloth to protect the water from blowing debris.

Weed the Lawn

Now is an ideal time to control broadleaf weeds in your lawn, including dandelions, clover, plantain, spurge, and others. Get them before they disburse their seeds by hand pulling, digging, or if needed, spot-spraying. Once these weedy patches are gone, the grasses will quickly fill in the spaces vacated by the weeds. A light aeration and organic-based fertilizer will help speed up the process.

Don't Prune Roses

Avoid the urge to prune back roses in the fall. Unlike milder areas of the country, roses need all the foliage and new growth from this year to store food reserves for winter survival. Just remove spent blooms and dead stems or canes. The best time for a major pruning of roses is spring.

Plant Pansies

Spruce up outdoor containers where other annuals are waning. Remove spent annuals, add some new potting mix and start planting. This a good time to add pansies, violas, chrysanthemums, and asters to perk up the fall landscape. These late-blooming plant selections thrive best in cooler weather and shorter days.


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