Gardening with an Altitude® John Cretti-Horticulturist
Monday September 24, 2018
“Gardening in the Rocky Mountain region can be challenging” is the mantra that I’ve taught over the 33 plus years of teaching, sharing, writing, and hosting radio and television programs. But I’ve also qualified that text with the statement; “ turn those challenges into opportunities by discovering plants that will grow successfully”.
The key to successful gardening is working with your climate and terrain instead of fighting against it.
There are many landscape plants that are well suited for our varied climates and soil conditions. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or just a beginner, one of your best resources is The ROCKY MOUNTAIN Getting Started Garden Guide (Cool Springs Press). Here you’ll discover plants that are adapted to our region.
As this gardening season winds down and will soon be history, here are some reminders to keep in mind through the fall and winter. Wishing you an enjoyable, peaceful, and blessed fall and winter. May your future gardens grow and prosper!
Garden Reminders – Fall & Winter 2018
Watering in Fall and Winter
Non-native plants often need additional attention to survive our winter. Snow is nature’s mulch, but dependable snowfall is unpredictable, often melts rapidly, or comes and goes throughout the late fall and winter.
One of the greatest enemies of plants is lack of fall and winter watering. Add to that drying winds, low precipitation, and fluctuating temperatures are common in our region. Winterkill will be the result.
Late fall and winter watering should be done when air and soil temperatures are above 45 degrees F. with no snow cover. Water early in the day so that water soaks into the ground before freezing nighttime temperatures. Check your landscape monthly and water as needed to ensure plant survival.
Invite Overwintering Birds to Your Yard
Attract our feathered friends to your yard by locating bird feeders throughout the landscape. A constant supply of food and water will bring birds all year round. Place your bird feeders near trees and shrubs to offer birds protection from predators.
Apply Tree Wrap if Needed
Reduce the incidence of sunscald injury to tree trunks by applying a reflective tree wrap. This is especially important for newly planted fruit trees and thin-barked trees, including lindens, locusts, and mountain ash. Wraps prevent the bark from damage caused by heating up during the day, then suddenly turning cold at night when temperatures plummet. A “Gardening with an Altitude Tip” wrap trees around Thanksgiving and remove the wrap around Easter.
Keep your houseplants healthy and happy by periodically checking them for troublesome insect pests. Warm, dry air indoors provides perfect conditions for pests to thrive. Inspect the undersides of leaves, plant stems, and leaf axils. Early pest detection and control can save your plants from severe damage.