Western Mountains and High Plains

April, 2006
Regional Report

Plant Instant Color

With cooler night temperatures and bright days, plant pansies and violas in containers for early and instant color. Leave room between the plants to add warmer-season annuals including geraniums, and petunias. Pansies will bloom until hot weather if deadheaded, then will rebloom when cool weather returns.

Fertilize Iris

Apply a 5-10-5 granular or slow-release fertilizer to bearded and Siberian iris. This will help to promote more blooms. You want the second number in the fertilizer analysis -- the phosphorus -- to be the largest. Scatter a handful around each plant and water in well.

Plant Bare-Root Raspberries

Plant bare-root nursery-grown raspberries and strawberries as soon as they become available. Plant in well-prepared, compost-enriched soil. Cut the raspberry canes to within an inch of ground level. New shoots will emerge from the roots in about two weeks.

Clean Out Strawberry Patch

Dig out and toss older strawberry plants if this is their third season. Strawberries are prone to diseases and run out of energy after several years. Keep the new plants and add compost around the bed to provide more organic matter and help the newer plants get off to a more vigorous start.

Watch for Insects

Start your annual insect patrol. Turn over leaves and look at the stems of trees, shrubs, vines, and ground covers. If you detect aphids feeding or tiny eggs, use your fingers to smash them. If you're squeamish about this, wear gloves. Use a gentle stream of water to wash off aphids and other visible pests.

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