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Local and Timely High Desert Gardening Tips

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October 15th thru October 31st, 2020

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

General Garden & Lawn Care:

  • Call Landscape Services to schedule your irrigation system shut down: 825-0602 x134.
  • Continue planting trees, shrubs, perennials, and spring blooming bulbs – fall is the best time to plant.
  • Continue watering all trees, shrubs & perennials regularly.
  • Core aerate your lawn with Yard Butler Core Aerator if you didn’t do so in the spring or if you have heavy clay soils or areas of compaction.
  • It’s generally too late to overseed now. 
  • Fertilize lawn with G&B Organics Lawn Fertilizer or Bonide Winterizer if you haven’t done so yet.
  • If disease problems have been identified in your lawn or landscape, now may be the best time to treat.  Come into our stores for specific information and bring samples so that we can best assist you.
  • Treat beds to prevent weeds now with Amaze pre-emergent herbicide or organically with Concern Weed Prevention Granules or Bonide Maize Weed Preventer. Lawns can be treated with Bonide Crabgrass & Weed Preventer unless you have recently seeded them.
  • Keep compost pile active by adding G&B Organics Starter Fertilizer and layers of green material (grass clippings and frost-killed annuals or perennials) and brown, dried material (fallen leaves, shredded twigs, dried grasses) with small amounts of soil & water.  Turn regularly.  Keep peony leaves (which are prone to disease) and diseased material out of pile to avoid contamination of compost.
  • Black bears are a potential problem this time of year for backyard bird feeders.  Now through mid-December, bears will forage for food up to 20 hours a day to store enough fat to sustain them through hibernation.  To deter them from gaining an easy meal and still feed your feathered friends, consider doing the following:
    • Clean up seed that has fallen to the ground as much as possible; attach seed trays to your feeders to make this easier.
    • Use ammonia on ground and around feeder to deter bears.
    • Consider only putting out thistle as bears are less likely to be attracted to it versus other nut blends. 
    • When bear activity has been noted in your area, bring feeders in at night.

Tree and Shrub Care:

  • It is common for pines to shed needles annually; as long as the needles are on the inside of the branch (close to the trunk) instead of at the tip of the branch, there is nothing to worry about.  If needles are browning and dropping at the tip of branches, there is a problem; in this instance, bring a branch in to one of our plant doctors for a diagnosis.
  • Wait until trees and shrubs drop their leaves or undergo color change before digging and moving them to new sites.
  • Continue to water newly planted trees and shrubs, especially evergreens, every 2-3 weeks if we don’t receive adequate precipitation.  If weather continues to be warm and dry, then watering once a week may be necessary.
  • Apply a layer of organic mulch if you have not yet done so. This improves soil, retains moisture, suppresses weeds, and insulates the root zone. If you performed a summer mulching (always a good idea!) you can hold off on another layer until the soil freezes.
  • To keep deer from rubbing antlers on tree trunks, spread garden netting or snow fencing around abused trees.
  • Apply Bonide Wilt Stop to broadleaf evergreens, such as rhododendrons, laurels, hollies, and photinia to protect from winter desiccation, especially those that are newly planted.
  • Deter rabbits and rodents from over-wintering in gardens by using Plantskydd or Bonide Repels All and cutting down their winter habitats – ornamental grasses (except pampas grass) and perennials – instead of leaving them standing for winter interest.
  • Wrap columnar evergreens such as arborvitaes, columnar pines, and spruces with green ties to prevent damage during the winter from heavy snow accumulations.

Perennial & Annual Care:

  • Divide daylilies, peonies & iris; transplant while soil is still warm.
  • Harvest seed from non-hybridized flowering perennials.
  • Allow certain dried flowerheads to remain standing for fall and winter interest to attract birds -- astilbe, coneflower, cosmos, and others
  • Begin to plant spring blooming bulbs; be sure to add G&B Organics Bud & Bloom Fertilizer water well and mulch with G&B Organics Soil Building Conditioner after planting.
  • Remove annual plant material from garden & containers and add to compost pile.
  • For easier spring clean-up, cut back the following plants that don’t look very attractive after frost when their leaves and stems have lost all green color:  bearded iris, peonies, bee balm, blanket flower, catmint, columbine, crocosmia, daylilies, phlox paniculata, salvia nemorosa, veronica, yarrow and wild indigo (baptisia).
  • Clean and sterilize containers before storing over winter.   
  • Wait until the ground has frozen hard to mulch perennial beds.
  • Winterize aquatic gardens – visit  to read our fact sheet WG-2 on winterizing ponds/aquatic gardens.

Indoor Plant Care:

  • Force amaryllis and paperwhite bulbs for Christmas.
  • Tender plants like mandevilla, jasmine, citrus, gardenia, and bougainvillea should be brought inside to overwinter in a sunny window before the first light frost.  Treat all plants with Bonide Insecticidal Soap, Bonide All Seasons Oil, or Organicide as a minimum precaution.
  • Use Bonide Houseplant Systemic Granules and/or BonNeem II to prevent insects from coming indoors.  Consider repotting and changing soil at this time.  Do not change size of pot until spring.
  • Continue to carefully monitor houseplants that summered outside for any sign of insects or disease.  Discard seriously infested or diseased plants – do not compost.
  • Isolate new plants from those that grow indoors year-round to prevent disease or insect contamination; to be safe, treat new plants with Bonide Houseplant Systemic.

Herb, Fruit & Vegetable Care:

  • Harvest pumpkins before a killing frost.
  • If hard frost threatens, pick all tomatoes, including the unripe ones and store in cardboard boxes or paper bags in cool, dry place. Or protect them and other tender veggies with Dalen Harvest Guard.
  • Allow collards, kale, and Brussels sprouts to be hit with frost before harvesting to improve their flavor.
  • After a hard frost, remove previously healthy dead plant material from vegetable garden and compost.  Any diseased foliage or weed seeds should be kept out of the compost. Till 1 to 2 inches of G&B Organics Compost into garden soil.
  • Remove all fallen fruit and leaves from garden and yard.


  • Hummers are gone now except for some Annas that have been known to stay through the winter. If you continue to put out nectar during the winter months, placing a source of low heat like Christmas lights next to feeder can keep it from freezing.  Or changing the food out first thing in the morning is another option.
  • Many birds continue their main molt (replacement of their feathers) which requires extra protein to grow strong feathers for proper flight and effective insulation.  Continue to offer high-protein bird foods, such as nyjer, peanuts, black oil sunflower, sunflower chips, Jim's Birdacious Bark Butter® and mealworms, to ensure they have a reliable source of protein to help them with molting.
  • Put out suet, Bark Butter Bits, and mealworms to attract insect-eating birds which are now arriving to spend the winter.
  • Ground-feeding birds are also arriving for the winter; now is a good time to add wild bird or quail block to your yard.
  • Add a heater to birdbaths or put out a heated birdbath to attract more birds and provide a consistent source of water for drinking and bathing.
  • Store bird food in a sealed container and keep in a cool dry place.
  • 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, on a patio or on a deck.

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

South Virginia St. Store

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.