Western Mountains and High Plains

April, 2006
Regional Report

Plant Bare-Root Plants NOW

It's time to set out bare-root plants including fruit trees, shrubs, trees, berries, flowering vines, roses, grapes, rhubarb, and horseradish. Besides being one of the most economical ways to get plants, another advantage is the ability of bare-root stock to develop a strong, vigorous root system before the leaves emerge. Soak the roots in a bucket of warm water for a few hours before planting.

Get Vegetables Ready for Planting

Planting time for vegetables and herbs is near as soil temperatures begin to warm up. As soon as the soil can be worked, sow seeds of beets, turnips, carrots, leaf lettuce, spinach, onions, peas, Swiss chard, kohlrabi, and endive. If you've started transplants of broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and onions, make plans to set them outdoors. Use floating row covers to warm the soil and help the plants get off to a strong and healthy start.

Rotate Garden Crops

If you have room in your garden, make a plan to rotate your planting sites to reduce the spread of diseases and insect pests. Don't plant the same or closely related plants in the same spots they grew in the past few years.

Time to Fertilize Lawns

Lawns that did not receive fall fertilizer will benefit from an application of an organic-based or slow-release lawn food in mid to late April. Soils in the Rocky Mountains and plains generally have iron, but this nutrient is unavailable to the grass when the soil pH is 7.6 or higher. Read the label of lawn fertilizers carefully and select products that are formulated for your area and specific soil nutrient needs. You'll be surprised how turf grasses respond with darker green color and more vigor after iron and sulfur is applied.

Check for Insect Pests When New Foliage Unfurls

Any time you can detect pests such as aphids and scale in the early stages, it will be much easier to control them. Dispatch them with a blast of water from the garden hose, or use good quality oil sprays. Homemade soap sprays can be very effective too.

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