Rocky Mountains

July, 2004
Regional Report

Cut Back Cool-Weather Flowers

Cool-season flowers, including pansies, violas, and primroses, will tend to stop blooming and look straggly as the heat of summer advances. This is common in many of our cool-season perennials as well. Now is the time to cut back the plants and remove the spent flowers. Scatter a light application of 5-10-5 fertilizer around the plants and water in thoroughly. As they sit out the summer, they will divert their energy into more vigor and return with a burst of blooms again in mid-August and September.

Aerate Stressed Lawns

If your lawn is plagued with lawn diseases and is not accepting water readily, early summer is a good time to have another core-aeration done. Be sure to use aeration equipment that will remove 2- to 3-inch plugs that will really break through the thatch layers and open up the soil for air and water movement. By reducing stress early in the summer, your lawn can recover from lawn diseases and develop a deeper and more drought-enduring root system.

Garden in Raised Beds

If you're cramped on space and want to plant a vegetable or flower garden, build raised beds to make maintenance easier. Use landscape timbers, flagstone, or other rock materials to install a raised garden. Arrange the materials in a pattern to fit the desired effect of your landscape schemes. Fill with a soil and compost mixture and plant herbs, flowers or vegetables. Elevated gardens make it easy to work the soil, plant and weed.

Be Careful with Weed Killers

Another warning goes out when spraying broadleaf weeds in your lawn. Avoid the application of weed killers that contain trimec with the highly toxic ingredient dicamba that is readily absorbed by tree and shrub roots. Samples of newly planted trees and shrubs in and near lawn areas that were treated with weed and feed products containing trimec are showing symptoms of herbicide injury. Twisted, distorted growth and dieback are the side effects that signal a slow death of your valuable landscape plants. If you need to treat weeds, use less-toxic alternatives and follow label directions.

Suppress Leaf Diseases Early

Black leaf spot is beginning to appear on the foliage of roses. Symptoms are black, sooty lesions on the leaves. Leaves eventually turn yellow and drop off prematurely. This disease can also infect the rose canes too. Control by spraying the foliage with a homemade solution of 2 teaspoons baking soda to a quart of tepid water. Add a few drops of lemon-scented dishwashing detergent to make the spray stick to the leaves. Avoid watering the foliage of roses at night to reduce a severe black spot infection. Handpick infected leaves and dispose of them to prevent this disease from ruining your rose garden.

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