Unfortunately, winter weather predictions are calling for a warmer and drier than average winter here in northern New Mexico. While the warmer winter temperatures are pleasant, less moisture is always a cause for concern and we need to protect our landscapes to prevent damage from lack of water and hungry animals.
Here is a list of tips that will help keep plants in good shape through the drier winter months:
Leave perennials and ornamental grasses standing over the winter months. Resist the urge to clean up the garden by cutting them back to the ground after the fall frosts turn them brown. Dead stems and leaves shade the ground from the intense winter sun and help to keep the soil moister. This also protects the crown of the plant from the harsh, drying winter UV light.
Mulch. Apply a one to two inch thick layer of mulch to cover the ground around the plants. Use composted cotton burrs, pine needles, shredded wood or crushed pecan shells, They are both functional and attractive mulch materials.