Western Mountains and High Plains

May, 2005
Regional Report

Keep Mosquitoes at Bay

To prevent mosquito larvae in fountains and pools, use a biological control that contains Bt. This can be placed in standing water. Empty and refill your birdbath regularly.

Deadhead Peonies

Be sure to cut back or deadhead the faded blooms from your peony bushes. Cut off the flowers, but leave the foliage intact. The more healthy foliage that can grow through the summer, the more energy will be stored for next year's bloom. Support floppy peony bushes with twine to keep the plants in bounds.

Irrigate Strawberries From the Bottom

Avoid watering strawberries with an overhead sprinkler, which can wash away the pollen and discourage bees from pollinating the strawberries. Use a soaker hose or flood irrigation. Allow the water to soak in deeply to promote healthier root growth and more fruit production.

Cultivate Compacted Soils

If the soil around vegetable plants has started to crust and bake, lightly cultivate to loosen the soil and allow air and water to permeate into the ground for healthy, vigorous root growth. It's a perfect time to spread a layer of organic mulch, such as dried grass clippings or cedar shavings, around plants.

Monitor the Garden for Leaf Diseases

Be on the watch for powdery mildew disease on rose bushes and other ornamental plants. This disease appears as a white, flour-like coating of the young leaves. Powdery mildew can spread fast among stressed plants. To deny this fungus a foothold, make sure plants are well spaced for good air circulation, mulch with compost or shavings to prevent drought-stress, and irrigate at ground level.

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