Western Mountains and High Plains

September, 2007
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Black-Eyed Susans
It's the bright yellow daisy-like petals and deep chocolate brown centers of coneflowers (Rudbeckia spp.) that highlight the late-summer garden. Some are native, while others are hybrids that boast varied flower forms and colors. These members of the coneflower family are good for cutting, they attract butterflies and other beneficial insects, and they are drought tolerant once established. They do best in well-drained soils and full sun. Don't cut back after the hard frost because the brown center cones remain attractive in the winter garden.

Clever Gardening Technique

Earwig Traps
It's been a terrible year for European earwigs. Generally they are beneficial insect predators, but when numbers reach a threshold, they can damage garden plants. These nocturnal creatures hide during the day and venture out at dusk to nibble on succulent flower petals and other vegetation. If you provide them a hiding place, you can eventually decrease an overabundant population.

For this earwig trap you will need several 4- to 6-inch clay or plastic pots and some shredded newspaper or straw. Lightly pack each pot with some shredded newspaper or straw that has been moistened. Position these earwig traps upside down around the garden where the damage is occurring. Each morning, lift up the pot and shake out the earwigs into a container and dispose of them. I will leave the disposal method up to you. Reset the traps for the next batch of earwigs. Don't forget to empty out the earwigs each day or they will think you've set up house for them to come out each evening and devour more of your plants.

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