Green Thumb Tips
Jan. & Feb.
Echter’s 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.
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.
- Check your gladiolus, dahlia and canna
bulbs you have stored to make sure the media in which they are stored is still moist.
Perennials & Roses
When planning your flower bed, whether it is
planted in annuals or perennials, don’t overlook ornamental grasses for a
beautiful contrasting texture.
sure that the winter mulch around your perennials, roses and bulb beds is still in place. Replace mulch that has
been blown away
the seed heads from your ornamental grasses and use them to make very
attractive dried flower arrangements in your house.
- Cut back last year's growth
from ornamental grasses now before this year's new growth begins.
snow and ice are gone from shady areas of lawn (especially on the north side of
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
- If you see
“trails” 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.
January is a good month for
gardening, at least on paper, as you start planning for this year's garden. Although you'll want
to include many of your family's favorites, why not try something you've
never grown before?
February 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 Echter’s or use one of our easy-to-do test kits and test it yourself
and February are the best months to purchase your flower and vegetable seed. The best availability and selection is early.
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
- 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
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
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.
an early taste of spring. Prune branches of forsythia, quince, spirea, dogwood, viburnum, pussy willow
and crabapple and plum trees. Bring them indoors to bloom. Cut the branches at an angle and
in a vase of water. Change the water twice a week and
in about 3 weeks the stems will bloom. Don't prune the rest of the shrub until after they
have flowered in spring.
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.
- February into early March is the best time to prune fruit trees. Prune out any dead or diseased branches, any branch that is crossing and rubbing
another and any “water sprouts” (those weak “branches” that shoot straight up).
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
reduce the problem this year. Avoid spraying
blue spruce or you will have a green spruce.
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.
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.
- Keep holiday cacti blooming by keeping them in a cooler location with
bright sun. You can move them outdoors in summer in a semi-shaded
location. Then bring them in next fall for reblooming.
- 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.
growing a citrus tree in your house. If is best to have a tree which has
been grafted, as opposed to trying to grow them from seed. The fragrance
of the blossoms is wonderful and after pollinating the flowers with a cotton
swab or artist’s brush, you should eventually have fruit. Choose the
sunniest window in your house for citrus.
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.
- Keep your poinsettia blooming after the holidays by providing proper care.
Poinsettias need good drainage, so if the pot is still wrapped in foil,
remove the foil or make a hole in the bottom to allow the water to drain
out. Keep the soil moist, but don't overwater. Place your plant in a cool, (60 to 65 degrees F.) location that gets plenty
of light. Keep out of warm or cool drafts, and fertilize once a month.
Children are fascinated by “garbage gardening”. Carrot tops can be
grown in a dish with a small amount of water. This results in a
delicate fern. Sweet potatoes, pineapple tops, avocado seeds,
orange or grapefruit, and peach seeds can also be started.
you are overwintering your geraniums inside, be sure to cut them
back 1/3 of their height before
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.
African violets bloom better when surrounded by other African
violets. The more the merrier.
Echter's offers many seed mixes for all types of birds who are seed eaters. Individual types of seed are
also popular and there is a great selection to choose from. Sunflower seed, safflower seed and nyjer seed are among the favorite choices. Insect-eating birds such as flickers and nuthatches have a taste for suet and peanut butter rather than seed, so be sure to consider their needs as well.
Put your leftover Christmas tree outside and decorate it with strings of popcorn
and cranberries to feed the birds. Add pine cones which have been spread
with peanut butter and rolled in bird seed. The birds will love you.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dried herbs for cooking taste better when dried on paper towels or a wire screen. Hanging them upside down can deplete their essential oils.
We can sharpen your mower blade for a
Bring in your lawn
mower blade on or off the mower.
is a great way to exercise. You can burn as much as 300 to 400 calories per
hour by digging, raking, or turning compost. Besides, gardening
is fun and fruitful! Be sure to start with short spurts and ease into longer
periods of gardening time.