Contact the Colorado Master Gardeners to answer your gardening questions at 719-583-6566 or email your gardening questions to email@example.com.
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Yard and Garden Classes for 2014
From seeds to weeds, natives to veggies and don’t forget all those interesting insects, the spring Yard and Garden classes have now been scheduled!
Detailed information about these classes can be found in the 2014 Yard and Garden brochure.
Note: All classes require payment at the time of reservation. Cash or check only. Register at least one week prior to the class.
Interesting Insects -- Saturday April 26. What's a good bug? What's a bad bug? Complete details on the flyer.
Spring Weed Management
While many days still feel like winter, spring growth of weeds has already begun. Winter annuals such as redstem filaree (Erodium cicutarium), common mullein (Verbascum thapsus), and cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) have resumed their life cycle after their winter pause. Many summer annuals will begin germinating as the soil warms this spring.
Now is the time to plan your weed control strategies and prepare the tools you will use in the battle with weeds. Get out your knee covers, sharpen your hoe, purchase mulch, and calibrate your prayer. Early March is the appropriate time to apply pre-emergent herbicides for crabgrass and other spring germinating weeds. Many annuals and biennials can be controlled very effectively by pulling or hoeing. Perennial weeds such as dandelion and bindweed will need more than one method of control, with herbicides being an effective tool in the battle.
As with all chemical pesticides (yes, weeds are pests), read the label for appropriate and effective use. Remember that the label is the law, but more than that, it contains important information on proper use to maintain the health of desired landscape plants as well as your personal protection.
For additional information on weed management, check out the Colorado State University fact sheets at http://www.ext.colostate.edu/index.html, Colorado Master Gardener GardenNotes at http://www.cmg.colostate.edu/gardennotes.shtml, and the following articles and links. Or call our office to discuss weed control methods for home gardens and lawns.
Turkey Creek Conservation District (Pueblo County weed manager): http://www.puebloweeds.com/
Colorado Weed Management Association: http://www.cwma.org/
Articles from our local newsletter, From the Ground Up:
Controlling Weeds with Environmental Changes
Bromus tectorum (Cheatgrass)
Erodium cicutarium (redstem filaree)
Cardaria draba (hoary cress)
Latest From the Ground Up Newsletter
Or download the .pdf version.
Want expert advice on gardening in Colorado? Check out CO-Horts, a new blog featuring posts from Colorado State University Extension horticulture agents and specialists. The information focuses on gardening in Colorado’s unique climate. Recent posts covered topics ranging from rainwater harvesting to weed management to rabbits in the garden. You will find this excellent blog at http://csuhort.blogspot.com/.
Landscape Maintenance During Drought
The drought in southeastern Colorado continues, creating stressful growing conditions for plants in natural and irrigated landscapes. For the most up to date information on managing plants during drought or irrigation restrictions, see the Yard and Garden Drought Resources at http://www.ext.colostate.edu/drought/garden.html.
Lawn Irrigation Audit
If you have brown spots or soggy areas in your lawn, your sprinklers may be out of alignment. An irrigation system audit can help you identify whether your system is delivering water evenly. You can do a simple irrigation audit using 6 identical cans and a ruler.
- Set out 6 identical cans between sprinkler heads in the same zone.
- Run your system for 10 minutes.
- Measure the water in each can to determine if coverage is consistent. Make a note of the location of can with less water in them. That may coincide with the brown spots. Also note the location of cans with more water, probably the site of soggy spots.
- Combine the water from all the cans into one. Measure with a ruler. This will tell you the amount of water, in inches, delivered by your system in one hour (10 minutes x 6 cans = 60 minutes).
- Repeat for all zones.
- Adjust, repair, or replace sprinkler heads so that you get consistent delivery.
You can use this information to determine settings for your irrigation system. For more information on setting your irrigation timers, see your timer manual or these CSU Extension publications:
Fact Sheet 7.199: Watering Established Lawns at http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/garden/07199.pdf
Fact Sheet 4.722: Irrigation-Inspecting and Correcting Turf Irrigation System Problems at http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/crops/04722.pdf.
CMG GardenNote #265: Methods to Schedule Home Lawn Irrigation at http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/garden/07239.pdf
Remove dead trees and keep wood local to prevent insect spread
There are many dead trees in southeastern Colorado. While there are many reasons for tree death, those killed by borers should be removed and disposed of before they infect another plant.
Piñon or Ponderosa pine trees have been infested by Ips beetle and pitch mass borer. Ash and lilacs have been targeted by Lilac-ash borer. Peach trees may have peach borers. And black walnut has been hit hard by the insect-disease complex known as thousand canker.
Dead plants in the landscape may still harbor the larvae of borers, which may mature and move to still healthy trees in your neighborhood. Remember that the logs of these plants should not be moved as lumber or firewood, as the insects will be transported with the wood.
Home gardeners often discover that our hot climate makes tomato production, shall we say, interesting. Or maybe the word is challenging. Heat, water, wind, soil conditions, insects, and diseases can all play a role in whether home grown tomatoes are successful or not. For information on growing tomatoes and potential problems, see Colorado Master Gardener GardenNotes #717: Growing Tomatoes at http://www.cmg.colostate.edu/gardennotes/717.pdf, #718: Tomato Early Blight at http://www.cmg.colostate.edu/gardennotes/718.pdf, and CSU Extension Fact Sheet 2.949 : Recognizing Tomato Problems at http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/garden/02949.pdf.
Piñon pitch mass borer
Piñon pitch mass borer, Dioryctria ponderosae is damaging piñon and ponderosa pines in Pueblo and Fremont Counties. Damage is done by the larvae, a tan worm about ½ + inch long with a brown head. The larvae tunnel under the bark on the trunk and inner large branches, often near branch crotches, feeding on the water and food transportation system. Infested trees look stressed, with thinning or browning needles. In some cases only one branch or part of the tree may be affected.
Outward signs of larval feeding include masses of pinkish, gummy pitch near the feeding area, and cream colored dried pitch on lower branches or the trunk. When you pull the pinkish pitch away, the larvae may be pulled out with the pitch.
For more information on this insect pest, please the publications at http://wiki.bugwood.org/HPIPM:Pinyon_%22Pitch_Mass%22_Borer and http://www.coopext.colostate.edu/TRA/PLANTS/ppitch.shtml.
Pinon with both fresh and dried pitch
Photo: Sylvia Sanchez, Colorado Master Gardener
Very large pitch - fresh mass on pinon
Photo: Sylvia Sanchez, Colorado Master Gardener
Pitch mass borer photo from bugwood
Photo: Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University
This is a wonderful resource for weed management preferences from Fremont County weed control. Download the .pdf here.
Are you thinking of hiring a tree service to prune or remove a tree and not sure how to find the best option? Protect your landscape investment by asking questions before you sign a contract. Check references, discuss the practices the company uses, and get the agreement in writing. For more suggestions on what you need to know before you choose a tree service, click here.
Colorado Plant Database
Visit the Colorado Plant Database for information on native and non-native plants in our state. You will find details on where over 1,060 Colorado plants live, when they bloom, and suggestions on how to use them in your landscape.
Colorado State University Horticulture Links
CSU gardening information online:
CSU Soil, Water and Plant Testing Lab (click on Horticultural Applications for Gardeners):
CSU Turf program:
Colorado Master Gardener home page:
Colorado Master Gardener Garden Notes:
Other Horticulture Links
Colorado Native Plant Society:
Managing Alternative Pollinators: A Handbook for Beekeepers, Growers and Conservationists
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:
National Pesticide Information Center:
Pueblo County Horticulture/Master Gardeners