Managing Your Garden During the Cold Winter Months

frostFrost damage becomes an issue when prolonged night time temperatures drop to 32 degrees and below. The Desert has already experienced one heavy freeze this season with more sure to come. Protect bedding plants and vegetables with freeze cloth. Cold sensitive plants such as bougainvillea, lantana and boxwood carissa will also benefit from this protective cloth when temperatures drop. It may be a good idea to keep plant material covered for a few days during cold spells. When in doubt, cover your plants….freeze cloth will not harm plants.

If your garden has experienced damage from the recent frost, leave your pruning shears in the closet. Just as sunburned branches protect new growth, so will cold damaged foliage. As we know, winter temperatures in the Desert run the gamut; warm days allow growth only to suffer damage when night time temperatures drop too low. The good news is our winters generally last all of two months so unsightly foliage from frost damage grows away quickly.

Please limit water application in the garden to no more than every other day this time of year. A single deep soak on alternate days will provide ample water for ALL your plants. Traditional sprinkler systems and adjustable drip heads work nicely with 8 – 10 minutes water; drip irrigation must run substantially longer to fully saturate plant material. Set water times to begin a little later this time of year to avoid icy sidewalks.

Continue fertilizing through December months. This is the time of year it is best to use liquid fertilizers such as Miracle Gro or Fox Farm products. Nutrients get to the plant quickly with liquid fertilizers.

The 2014 Rose List is now available.
Click here to view it.
Mid December through the middle of January is the best time to prune back your roses. Roses need to be dormant for a time each year to promote large blossoms, optimum growth patterns and prize winning roses. Many of you do not like to lose BLOOM TIME during season and choose to prune your roses back in September. This is not a good practice and may distort rose blossoms. It is best to cut your roses back to 1/3 their original size, remove all the leaves, add a splash of fresh mulch, followed by rose food as the first new leaves appear

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