Local and Timely High Desert Gardening Tips

Participate in the 25th Annual Great Back Yard Bird Count February 18-21, 2022 – great family activity!  Please visit the official website at:  http://gbbc.birdcount.org/about/ for more information.   

  • Put out apple pieces, raisins soaked in water, grapes & other fruit in hanging fruit feeders or open trays to attract American robin, cedar waxwing, finches & mockingbirds.
  • Provide birds with a supply of high fat, high-calorie food like nyjer, peanuts, Winter Supreme Blend and suet to help them stay warm. These foods are especially important in extreme cold or when there is a heavy snowfall.
  • Install a clear plastic weather dome to protect tube feeders from rain and snow.
  • Put out suet and mealworms to attract insect-eating birds like northern flickers, downy woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, wrens, bushtits, kinglets and yellow-rump warblers.
  • 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.
  • Empty old seed before refilling feeders. Clean bird feeders and bird baths at least once a month with a weak bleach solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water to help prevent the spread of disease.
  • Get more tips to keep your birds healthy at https://reno.wbu.com
  • 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, on a deck railing or on a hard surface like a patio, wooden deck or pavers.
To keep cut flowers fresh, place them in room-temperature water as soon as possible. Make an angled cut with a sharp knife, removing 1 inch from each stem. Make this cut while stems are under water. Add floral preservative to the vase water to discourage bacteria. Remove all foliage below water level. Flowers should be kept in a cool, humid environment and be kept out of bright light and away from heating vents. Mist the air around the arrangement and change water daily. Keep flowers away from a bowl of fruit or vegetables since the ethylene gas emitted by ripening fruit can damage the flowers, as can cigarette smoke
  • 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 Insecticidal Soap and Bonide Systemic Houseplant Insect Control (not for indoor citrusfor most insects.   Use Bonide All Seasons Horticultural & Dormant Oil to control spider mites on indoor citrus.  Moana recommends Summit Mosquito Bits for control of fungus gnats.
  • Most houseplants require less water and much less, if any, fertilizer, because they slow their growth during their semi-dormant winter period.
  • Wipe dust off houseplants regularly; clean plants are healthier and less susceptible to disease and pest infestations.  Moana recommends Schulz Plant Shine; use according to directions.
  • Purchase vegetable and flower seeds now while selection is broad.
  • Start seeds for spring or summer-blooming annuals, vegetables and perennials.  Follow the directions on individual seed packets for requirements for bottom heat, light or darkness.  Some seeds might require a short period of chilling before being sown.
  • Check soil moisture around all your plants; with the relatively dry winter and spotty precipitation, you may find dry areas around at least some of your plants. Water accordingly.
  • Continue to check plants for signs of damage from animals or weather.
  • To prevent weeds, apply Hi-Yield Herbicide Granules pre-emergent to planting beds when you see early signs of spring such as crocus emerging or the forsythia blooming – applying at this time will control many cool season weeds.
  • To control both grassy and broadleaf weeds in lawns, apply Bonide Weedbeater Complete, a pre-emergent and post-emergent, in late February or early March as weather permits.
  • To control any boring or leaf feeding insects such as bronze birch borer & elm leaf beetle and aphids in trees and shrubs, apply Bonide Annual Tree and Shrub Insect Control now.  Be sure ground is moist & not frozen before applying, then follow up with proper winter watering three to four weeks later. We do not recommend using this product on any edible fruiting trees and avoid using when bees are foraging. ALWAYS PLEASE READ THE LABEL BEFORE APPLYING ANY PESTICIDE! 
  • Continue cutting branches – those with interesting foliage as well as flowers — for forcing indoors.  Refer to January’s tips for detailed instructions.
  • Prune fruit trees in late February or early March.
  • Heavy (no more than 25% by volume) pruning of large woody plants can be done this month as weather permits. Prune large spring flowering trees and shrubs after they bloom.
  • Immediately prune out broken or damaged branches.
  • When pruning trees in your landscape, keep in mind that maple, elm, birch and others may produce copious amounts of sap when pruned at this time of year.
  • Inspect trees for frost cracks or sunscald injury.
  • Apply Bonide All Seasons Horticultural & Dormant Oil to trees and shrubs to prevent insect infestations; we recommend you buy the concentrate, read the directions and mix to a dormant rate concentration.  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.
  • 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.
  • Early bulbs, especially those planted with a southern exposure or close to a house, might sprout prematurely. The first greenery to show is foliage with flower buds emerging much later. Cold weather might damage the edges of the foliage, but unless the flower bud has appeared, it will not affect the future flowering or health of the bulb.
  • A few of the small early bulbs – winter aconite, snowdrops and glory-of-the-snow can tolerate a bit of frost.
  • Check garden beds to be sure plants have not heaved out of the ground due to freeze-thaw-freeze cycles. Gently press the crowns of perennials back into the ground; avoid compacting the soil by not stomping heavily around plants. Apply mulch to root zone and not over the crown of the plant; Moana recommends G&B Organic Soil Building Conditioner.

Did you know we can do they 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.
  • Indoor Plants – Interior Plant Services offers clean air plants, design, installation, maintenance & more; call 825-0602 x 134.

  • Rent indoor plants for special events; call 825-0602 x 134.
  • Irrigation system turn on and inspection for leaks, broken/clogged heads, coverage & other problems by Moana Irrigation Specialist. Call 825-0602 x134 to schedule

  • Make an appointment for an at-your site consultation with one of our plant doctors to help with the following:

    • Diagnose disease and insect problems on tress, shrubs, and lawns
    • Identify existing plants in your landscape and how to care for them
    • Provide plants placement for DIY customers

Plants, Essential Multi-Taskers and Lifesavers

31 Helpful Landscape articles