April: Your Mountain guide






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Publication: Sunset
Date published: April 1, 2012

TECHNIQUE

HOW TO PRUNE FROST DAMAGE

Cold snaps may have left your tender perennials - angel's trumpet, bougainvillea, citrus, and the like - looking ragged. Before you grab your shears, keep these tips in mind:

1 | Wait until all risk of frost has passed before you prune. Deadwood insulates healthy plant parts against late freezes.

2 | Prune damaged parts down to new growth buds.

3 | Assess your work as you go, making sure not to leave the plant lopsided.

4 | Water deeply and apply a balanced fertilizer.

MUST-HAVE

Here at last!

Fresh off the presses, the ninth edition of The New Sunset Western Garden Book (Time Home Entertainment, 2012; $35) is updated for the way we garden today. It has a reorganized practical guide that tells you everything you need to know from planting to harvest, plus color photos for every genus and an allnew Plant Finder (sibling to sunset.com/plantfinder and its smartphone edition) to help you get growing now.

IDEA WE LOVE

GOLDEN ARCH

Signaling that spring is here, dreamy chains of pendulous yellow Laburnum ? watereri 'Vossii' blooms dangle from Dave and Pat Eckerdt's arbor in Salem, Oregon, for several weeks every year. The trees are planted at 7-foot intervals along each side of the custom-built, tunnel-like steel frame, and their young, flexible branches are pruned and trained to the frame every winter. -JIM MCCAUSLAND

To-do list

* Correct color clashes by digging up bulbs and moving them while they are still in bloom.

* Sow seeds of wildflowers just before rain or snow is predicted.

* Acclimate containergrown plants in a protected spot (such as under an eave) for a few weeks before planting in the ground.

* Start seeds of salad greens, keeping the soil moist until seedlings are 1 to 2 inches tall.

* Prune roses before new leaves appear, cutting dead canes to just above an outward-facing bud.

* Start pepper and tomato seeds indoors.

* Spread gravel 2 to 4 inches thick as a mulch between plants in dryland gardens.

* Plant hardy lily bulbs in spots with morning shade and afternoon sun.

* Tidy perennial flowers by cutting off dead tops to within a few inches of the ground. -MARCIA TATROE

CHOOSE PLANTS AND LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR ZONE: junset.com/ plantfinder

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