Timely, Local Tips
December 16th to January 1st, 2015
Moana Nursery Teammates say, "For successful high
desert gardening, NOW is the time to ..........."
Holidays are time for friends and family, and oftentimes that includes four-footed as well as two-footed. Keep your holidays merry, bright, and SAFE for everyone by keeping the following tips in mind.
Holiday decorations of all kinds can bring out the mischief in otherwise sedate pets, and can certainly be the focus of attention for any young household members- children, puppies and kittens alike. Restrict access to tinsel, lights and electrical cords, artificial snow, ornaments and other similar items if you are not certain how your companions will behave.
Be aware of holiday plants that are toxic, and even familiar plants that you have moved into new locations as part of holiday decorating. Seeing a plant in a new or more accessible location may inspire renewed interest in taste-testing. Although poinsettias are likely to be top of mind, they are not among the most toxic. Holly, mistletoe, and many types of holiday bulbs including paperwhites, lilies and amaryllis, can cause severe gastrointestinal upset, convulsions, and even death. Other common houseplants like weeping figs and dieffenbachia also pose a risk. Otherwise basically innocuous plants like Christmas cactus may cause digestive upset when consumed in sufficient quantity, so again, be aware when decorating with plants.
Most people are aware that chocolate is highly toxic to dogs, but be advised that even in the form of a cocoa mulch, it may make your pet ill. It is wise to pay extra attention if holiday celebrations cause changes in regular schedules: a pet left to her own devices may start up with new and unwelcome behaviors, including eating mulch that she left alone in the past. Other common holiday and winter- time products like icemelt, antifreeze, batteries, and cut tree preservatives pose a hazard to your pet’s health, so be certain to keep these products up and out of your pet’s reach. Even items like dried needles and holiday greens, potting soil from a tipped-over plant, and water from the Christmas tree stand can cause digestive upset.
Make sure that your tree is well-stabilized (a safety line may be needed) to prevent it from falling over when bumped by children or pets or jumped upon by aerobatic pets. Play it safe, and minimize your pet’s access to unfamiliar and possibly tempting and dangerous holiday items, to make certain that everyone enjoys the happiest of holidays.
General Garden & Lawn Care:
- Be sure all leaves and twigs are removed from your lawn before our next snowfall.
- If voles have been a problem, apply Bonide MoleMax to those areas they typically frequent before the next snowfall. MoleMax acts as a repellent and will protect the plant material in the treated zones.
- Avoid walking on frozen turf; it breaks grass blades.
- Mulch perennial beds & roses now if you haven’t done so with 2 to 4 inches of Gardner & Bloome Soil Building Compost or Dr. Earth All Purpose Compost.
- Avoid using salt-based, de-icing products in or around garden areas for snow removal. Moana recommends Sno Plow Ice & Snow Melter which is friendly to the environment and plants.
- Check ponds for branches, leaves and other debris deposited by our seasonal high winds and remove them.
Tree and Shrub Care:
- Recycle your Christmas tree at one of these three locations: Rancho San Rafael Park, Bartley Ranch Park or the Shadow Mountain Sports Complex in Sparks. Hours are 9:00 am – 4:30 pm December 26 thru January 12th. A $3 minimum donation is recommended.
- Continue to water newly planted trees and shrubs, especially evergreens, when there is a thaw and there has been no precipitation for three weeks.
- Water existing trees and shrubs, especially evergreens when there has been no precipitation for three weeks and there is a thaw. This is necessary for plants in containers.
- Light pruning of deciduous trees and shrubs can be done this month. Wait until late winter or very early spring before buds break to do heavy pruning. Immediately prune back any branches damaged by snow and ice.
- If disease such as powdery mildew was identified last season, preventative spraying of Bonide Liquid Copper at leaf fall and prior to bud break in spring can reduce incidence of disease. Make certain to clean up leaf and fruit litter that can harbor disease. Fruit trees should also be sprayed with Bonide All Seasons Dormant Oil to control insects such as white fly, spider mite, aphids and coddling moths.
- To protect the bark of young trees and older trees that may be susceptible to winter sunscald & frost damage to the south and southwest sides of their bark, wrap their bark in the coldest months of the year. Use Dalen Protective Tree Wrap, a light colored and flexible tree wrap from a few inches above the ground to just below the lowest limbs. From late December through mid-March this will help prevent damage from extreme cold and fluctuations in temperature. Leaving the wrap on year ‘round will provide habitat for pests, so make a note to take the wrap off when pea and potato planting time comes around- St. Patrick’s Day in the Truckee Meadows.
- Remove heavy snow loads from evergreen branches by gently sweeping snow off with a broom. If branches have been anchored to the ground, gently lift them from underneath with a broom. Avoid beating tree branches with any heavy tools.
- Allow any ice that accumulates on tree branches to melt. Cracking ice with heavy objects should be avoided.
- To protect broadleaf evergreens like rhododendron and photinia planted in exposed areas from drying winds, apply Bonide Wilt Stop this month and again in January and February.
Holiday Plant Care:
- Plant paperwhites and amaryllis for holiday color.
- When choosing a Christmas tree, select one with firm needles that don’t drop off when the tree is raised up a few inches and dropped to the ground. The bottom of the stump should be moist with some sap present. Cut two inches of the stump and immediately plunge tree into a bucket of warm water. Before bringing the tree inside spray with Bonide Wilt Stop to help prevent the needles from drying out. Make sure the stand is full of water each day. If left without water, the tree will form a seal which prevents it from taking up any water. Add SuperThrive to every watering to enhance water uptake & promote tree vitality.
- Remove decorative foil from bottom of gift plant pots or punch holes in the foil to allow water to properly drain.
- Cyclamen prefer cool temperatures. Water them only when the soil dries out and avoid splashing the foliage. Remove faded flowers and stems promptly to keep the plant blooming.
- Poinsettias require bright light away from heating vents, fireplaces and drafty windows or doors. Maintain even moisture; plants will wilt dramatically if allowed to dry out. Avoid getting water on leaves.
- Azaleas require bright light, moist soil and occasional misting. Flowers will remain for months if old blooms are quickly removed and the plant receives adequate moisture.
Indoor Plant Care:
- Monitor houseplants for insect problems that often occur when plants become stressed due to insufficient light, overheated rooms or improper watering and fertilizing techniques. Isolate new houseplants or gift plants for 10 days before adding to your existing plants. Pests to look for include spider mites, scale, mealybugs, whitefly and fungus gnats. Treat immediately. Moana recommends Bonide Systemic Houseplant Insect Control and Dr. Earth Fruit & Vegetable Insect Spray; use according to the label.
- Continue to fertilize orchids with Grow More 20-20-20 orchid fertilizer until they set flowers; run room temperature water through pots every 2-3 weeks to leach salts from soil. Examine foliage to ensure it doesn’t scorch from exposure to direct southern sun. Avoid getting water on leaves.
- Put out compressed seed cakes and cylinders to provide birds with a steady supply of food, even in the worst of weather and when you go on vacation.
- Refill bird feeders.
- Feed high fat, high caloric content seeds to help satisfy birds’ cold weather needs. Black oil sunflower, nyjer, peanuts and finch blend all add needed calories.
- Install a clear plastic weather dome to protect tube feeders from rain and snow.
- Hang a cylinder feeder with one of our many seed or suet cylinder choices for easy no-fuss bird feeding in winter. Be sure to check out our holiday cylinders – Preston the Penguin and Buttons the Snowman along with festive cylinder holders!
- Put out suet and mealworms to attract insect-eating birds that are residents or arriving to spend the winter
- Put out a heated birdbath to ensure a steady supply of water. Remember, birds still need to bathe even in winter to keep their feathers conditioned for insulation and flight.
- Store bird food in a sealed container and keep in a cool dry place to prevent spoilage.
- Install a customized Wild Birds Unlimited bird feeding station where you can easily watch the birds it attracts. It can be installed in the ground or on a deck
Did you know that we can do the following for you? Call 825-0602 ext.134.
- Install and maintain indoor plants – new Plant Services business features design, clean-air plants, maintenance & more.
- Plant rental service.
- Seasonal container & bedding service.
- Custom Container drop-off & pick up.
- Bulk Material Installation/Spreading.
- Design & install holiday lighting.
- Tune up your landscape and irrigation system.
- Add a water feature.
- Design and install a new landscape.
- Upgrade an existing landscape.
- Install a driveway, patio and other hardscapes.
- Install FieldTurf artificial putting greens, lawns, dog runs & play areas.
- Create a backyard bird habitat.
- Have a healthier landscape this year – Make an appointment for an at-your site consultation; call our Plant Doctors:
Jon Bruyn at 240-9783 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisa Braginton at 843-7479 or email@example.com
Steve Packer at 233-5113 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Michelle Gilmore at 425-4300 or email@example.com
Helpful Video Showing How To Turn Your Irrigation/Sprinkler System On & Off - - View by clicking this link to Moana's You Tube Video.