Echter's Home

Green Thumb Tips - January & February

Echterís Plant Doctors are available during store hours seven days a week to answer
your gardening questions. For accurate diagnosis, it helps to bring in a sample.

Flower Gardens
Donít worry if you see evidence of leaves of your fall planted bulbs popping up out of the ground. This is quite normal and there is no way to stop them. Keep the soil moist, which will cool it and keep the bulbs hydrated. 
To prevent sparrows and finches from shredding crocus blossoms, place a piece of Bird Scare Tape tied to
a stick every few feet among the flowers. The flashing will frighten away the birds.
Perennials & Roses
Be sure that the winter mulch around your perennials, roses and bulb beds is still in place. Replace mulch that has been blown away by heavy winds.
Cut back last year's growth from ornamental grasses now before this year's new growth begins.
When snow and ice are gone from shady areas of lawn (especially on the north side of structures) rake
the grass to prevent snow mold.
Water your lawn with a sprinkler during long stretches of mild dry weather. Be sure to disconnect the hose and put it away before the weather drops below freezing again.
If you see ďtrailsĒ in your lawn, you may have voles, a common rodent in Colorado. We carry products to eliminate this pest. Voles have been known to chew on bark of trees and shrubs, especially junipers. You may notice dead branches on junipers later in the spring.  Look deep inside the shrub and you will see
where the bark is missing

Vegetable Gardens
GrapesFebruary is the best time to prune grape vines. By waiting until just before growth begins in spring, you can recognize and remove any dead or damaged wood.

Your spring crop of asparagus will benefit greatly from the addition of manure to the bed.

Test your soil for pH and nutrients so you'll know what is needed before you plant this spring. Soil amendments that improve your gardens can be tilled or spaded now and worked in. We can test your soil for you at Echterís or use one of our easy-to-do test kits and test it yourself
January and February are the best months to purchase your flower and vegetable seed. The best availability and selection is early.
Take inventory of your seed starting supplies, such as pots, soil, and flats. Sterilize any that you have
used before or purchase new supplies. Be ready so that you will have everything you need for a successful project.
When starting seeds indoors, use a propagation mat. It keeps the soil in the trays at a constant warm temperature. You will get quicker germination, more seedlings and more uniformity.

Trees & Shrubs
Knock down heavy snows from your shrubs and tree branches by gently pushing up with a broom. Start
with the lower branches and work your way up the tree or shrub.
It is very important to keep your lawns, trees, shrubs, perennial and bulb beds watered once a month throughout the winter as weather permits. You will reduce the chance of root damage on perennials, trees and shrubs and reduce insect population and disease problems in your lawn next year.
Prune summer and fall blooming shrubs in February. This is the time to shape up your trees as well. Remove dead, dying, or unsightly parts of the tree. Your pruning arsenal should include bypass pruners, a compound action lopper, a tree saw and a pole pruner at minimum. Bring in your tools for sharpening if they have become dull. 
If you have large trees that need pruning, call us for the name of a tree service. The sooner you call, the more likely you will get your trees pruned at the best time of year.
On a nice warm day, spray Bonide All-Seasons Dormant Oil on trees, shrubs, roses, vines or most anything else you had insect or disease problems on last year. It kills overwintering insect eggs and will help reduce the problem this year. Avoid spraying blue spruce or you will have a green spruce.
When shoveling snow from your sidewalks and driveways, pile the snow around trees, shrubs and perennial plants instead of out in the street as long you have not used chemicals or salt to melt the ice. These plants will benefit from the added moisture.

Indoor Plants
If a houseplant is not doing well, check these five growing factors: light, temperature, nutrients, moisture, and humidity. They must be favorable to provide good growth. Bring the plant in to our plant doctors if you need help with a diagnosis.
Cyclamen are great plants for brightening your home in winter. They prefer a cool, dry and bright place.
The pink, red, white or maroon flowers will continue for weeks.
Grow your own herbs inside. Either from seeds or plants, there is nothing like fresh herbs for all kinds of winter dishes, like soup, stews, and many other comfort dishes for those cold winter days.
If you have a problem with those very annoying fungus gnats coming from the soil under your houseplants, let your plants dry out down to at least 1 inch before watering them. Gnats thrive in moist soil and multiply. Quick Kill Mosquito Bits with Bti, a biological pesticide will control them in the larval stage. Applying a pyrethrum or permethrin to the soil will reduce their numbers. Whitefly sticky traps will also catch those that come out of the soil.

Ever wonder about how the birds protect themselves in the freezing cold weather? First of all, they need clean feathers, so an unfrozen water source is essential for birds to bathe. They need water in the winter as well as spring and summer. By placing a birdbath de-icer in your birdbath, the birds will stay happy all winter.
Another requirement is shelter. You will often find a lot of birds in dense shrubs, spruce and pine trees.
Any protection you can offer would be appreciated very much by our feathered friends.
Trees and large shrubs provide a safe haven for birds and make a good place to hang feeders and water sources. If
squirrels are a nuisance, use a squirrel-proof feeder.

Home & Patio

Urea is a safer ice melt around lawns, plants and pets, but it only melts ice down to about 15 degrees. If you need to use calcium chloride for cold-temperature ice melting, try to avoid pushing it onto desirable plants. Only use as much ice melt as is necessary and try to keep it in the center of the walk.

Have your lawn mower serviced and the blade sharpened now. We can sharpen your mower blade for a nominal fee.

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