Western Mountains and High Plains

September, 2004
Regional Report

Watch for Powdery Mildew Damage

Symptoms include stunted new growth; white, flour-like coating on the foliage; leaf drop; and poor plant vigor. This disease favors tender growth and will infect leaves, stems, terminal buds, blossoms, and even fruit. Prune out the worst infected parts and dispose of them. Protect foliage with a mixture of baking soda and horticultural oil: 1 tablespoon baking soda and 2-1/2 tablespoons ultra-fine horticultural oil mixed into 1 gallon of water.

Develop Good Sanitation Practices in the Yard and Garden

Clean up what's left from summer's annual flowers and vegetables. Rake up heavy accumulations of leaves and other plant refuse and add it to the compost pile if the materials are not diseased. Leaves from cottonwood, aspen, and willow should be chopped up before composting to speed up the decomposition process. Good garden sanitation helps to reduce disease problems and eliminates hiding places for insect pests.

Clean up Houseplants

If you\'ve been summering some of your houseplants outside, remember to clean them up before bringing them inside. Gently hose them down with tepid water and a mild soap solution (1 tablespoon mild liquid hand soap to a gallon of water). This will not only clean the foliage but dislodge many insect pests and their eggs. Don\'t forget to check the undersides of plant containers for those \"piggy-back\" pests, including sowbugs, earwigs, slugs, and millipedes. Get rid of them so they can\'t take up residence in your home.

Plant Trees and Shrubs

Purchase plants early during special close-out sales to get the best quality possible. Then you can plant before fall storms and early frosts. The earlier in the fall you plant container-grown or balled-and-burlapped nursery stock, the better the chances for fall and winter survival. Water regularly during the fall and winter, especially when the weather is windy and dry.

Breathe New Life into Your Lawn

Lawns should be core-aerated in the cool weather of fall. Soak the lawn a day prior to aeration so the mechanical aerator removes deep plugs. The holes will allow for better air, water, and nutrient movement through the soil. This helps the lawn thicken up since root growth is more active during the autumn.

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