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Local and Timely High Desert Gardening Tips

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January 15th thru January 31st, 2021

Moana Nursery Teammates say, "For successful high desert gardening, NOW is the time to ............."

Winter Precipitation

Mother Nature was rather stingy with her moisture thee last few months. Remember, plants in the ground, especially newly planted trees, shrubs and perennials, need the equivalent of one inch of precipitation per month.  Plants in containers need more since they dry out faster. If you haven’t checked your soil moisture and watered as needed already, it’s time to do so now! Visit this helpful link on high desert winter watering  to read our fact sheet titled IF-13 Winter Watering.

Now is a good time to start a new hobby that the whole family can enjoy -- Backyard Bird Feeding.  We have all you need to get started – from expert advice to the freshest birdseed in town. Visit our Wild Birds Unlimited Stores located inside each Moana Nursery Garden Center.    The next GBBC (Great Back Yard Bird Count) is February 12 –15, 2021

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Bird watchers of all ages count birds to create a real-time snapshot of where birds are. Click here for more details:  http://gbbc.birdcount.org/

Birds: 

  • Be consistent and keep bird feeders full through the winter. Birds grow accustomed to your feeders especially in severe weather when the snacks you offer may mean their very survival.  If you leave home for an extended period, try to have a neighbor or friend keep the feeders going.
  • Stamp down the snow below feeders.  Ground-feeding birds such as dark-eyed juncos, doves and many sparrows will be able to gather up the seed that drop from the feeders if they don’t have deep snow to try to manage.  
  • Install a clear plastic weather dome to protect tube feeders from rain and snow.
  • Put out suet or no-melt suet dough (if feeder is in the sun) and mealworms to attract insect-eating birds like flickers, woodpeckers and nuthatches.  
  • Provide birds with a supply of high fat seed like Nyjer, Peanuts, Black Oil Sunflower Seeds, and Finch Blend - all add needed calories to help them stay warm - especially important when there is a heavy snowfall.
  • Continue to supply fresh water in a heated bird bath or add a de-icer to a frost-proof bird bath to ensure a steady supply of water. To prevent the chance of disease, clean birdbath weekly with a weak bleach solution (1-part bleach to 9 parts water). Rinse well.
  • 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 enjoy the birds it attracts.  It can be installed in the ground or on a deck.

Indoor Plant Care:

  • Most houseplants require less water and much less, if any, fertilizer, because they slow their growth during their semi-dormant winter period.  Orchids are the exceptions.
  • 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 before adding to your existing plants.  Pests to look for include spider mites, scale, mealybugs, whitefly and fungus gnats. Moana recommends Bonide Systemic Houseplant Insect Control, Neem Oil or Insecticidal Soap; use according to their labels.
  • Start seeds for early spring annuals requiring a long lead time before being set out in the garden.

General Garden & Lawn Care:

  • Regularly check plants for signs of damage from ice, snow, wind or animals and lack of winter water.  If the soil has heaved plants out of the ground, push the soil back over the roots and apply a three-inch layer of mulch, leaving a three-inch clearing around the base of the plant to prevent rodents like voles from feeding at the base of the plant.
  • Mulch perennial beds and roses with 2-4 inches of G&B Organics Soil Building Conditioner if not yet done.
  • Now is a great time to begin re-designing and budgeting for garden improvements.
  • Plan for this year’s vegetable and fruit crop. Examine your garden notes to see which plants produced best for you.   Check for fruit tree availability with any Moana Nursery location now to find out what varieties will be available in spring.
  • Avoid using salt-based, de-icing products in or around garden areas for snow removal.  Moana recommends Sierra Blue Snow & Ice Melter which is friendly to the environment, pets and plants.
  • Distribute snow loads on both shrubs and garden beds when clearing driveways or shoveling walks.
  • Remove any broken or fallen branches from the yard. Retie any vines that might have been torn from their supports.

Tree and Shrub Care:

  • Apply Bonide All Seasons Horticultural and Dormant Oil Spray to trees and shrubs to prevent insect infestations; use according to directions for the correct dormant spray rate. Spray three weeks later and before buds swell with Bonide Copper Fungicide or Monterey Liqui-Cop to control leaf diseases such as peach leaf curl and powdery mildew.
  • As we recommended in November, a second application of Bonide Wilt Stop to broadleaf evergreens is due now to further protect them from winter desiccation. If you didn’t apply in November, go ahead and apply now according to the directions. Do not apply this product to conifers with blue-green needles, such as blue spruce, Vanderwolf pine and Blue Atlas cedar.
  • Selectively prune branches from flowering trees and shrubs later this month and bring them indoors to force blooming.  Choose branches with plenty of fat flower buds.  Cut branches at least 1 foot long when temperature is above freezing.  Lay them in a bathtub filled with room-temperature water overnight.  Arrange them in a bucket or vase and keep them in a 60-degree room out of direct sunlight; changing water every other day.  When buds swell or color up, make final arrangements and bring into a cool room, out of direct sun.   Good choices include forsythia, crabapple, flowering quince, serviceberry, magnolia, apple, flowering pear & cherry, spring-flowering witch hazel, flowering pear & cherry and redbud.
  • Water existing trees and shrubs, especially evergreens when there has been no precipitation for three weeks and there is a thaw.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Did you know that we can do the following for you?

  • Seasonal Containers, Garden Design, Installation and Maintenance (plus proper pruning and grooming by our Gardener Services Team)  call 825-0602 x134 for more info
  • Install and maintain indoor plants – Interior Plant Services team features design, clean-air plants, maintenance & more    - - call 825-0602 x134 for more info
  • Rent indoor plants for special events  - - call  825-0602 x134 for more info    
  • Irrigation system turn on and inspection for leaks, broken/clogged heads, coverage & other problems by Moana Irrigation Specialist)  Call 825-0602 x134 to schedule
  • Bulk Material Installation/Spreading -- call  825-0602 x218 
  • Create a backyard bird habitat; have a healthier landscape this year.
  • Make an appointment for an at-your site consultation; call our Plant Doctors - - all Aborists & High Desert Horticulturists.:
    • Diagnose disease & insect problems on trees, shrubs & lawns
    • Identify existing plants in your landscape and how to care for them
    • Provide plant placement for DIY customers

Moana Lane Store 

Pyramid Way Store

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Official Planting Guide from Moana Nursery

Moana Nursery's High Desert Vegetable Calendar

Helpful Video Showing How To Turn Your Irrigation/Sprinkler System On & Off - - View by clicking this link to Moana's You Tube Video.

Click on this link for ... Helpful Landscape Articles Written By Our Professionals For Do-It-Yourselfers.