Western Mountains and High Plains

May, 2006
Regional Report

Rotate Planting Areas

If you have a large garden plot, make a plan to rotate your planting sites to reduce the spread of diseases and insect pests. This age-old farming practice applies to the home garden as well. Don't plant the same or closely related plants in the same areas where they grew in the past few years.

Fertilize Lawns

Fertilize your lawn for a second time around Memorial Day weekend. This application will help maintain a healthy, vigorous lawn that will be more resistant to weed invasions. Use a fertilizer that contains sulfur and iron to help keep the color a deep green.

Mow Lawn Frequently

To promote a deeper and more water-efficient root system, plus a more drought-enduring lawn, mow cool-season grasses to a height of 2-1/2 to 3 inches. When water sources are limited, apply only light applications of nitrogen so the lawn doesn't grow so vigorously and demand more water.

Mulch Plants the Easy Way

Mulch annual flower beds before you actually plant. Then set healthy transplants right through the mulch. This way you won't have to take the extra time to spread the mulch between all the small transplants. For mulching that is truly "Rocky Mountain style," use old pine needles, which hold together nicely and help repel cats from digging in the flower bed.

Prune Spring-Blooming Shrubs

To renovate and increase future blooms of your spring-flowering shrubs, now is the time to prune and thin. Spirea, forsythia, Japanese quince, lilac, and others are best pruned after the flowers fade. Remove dead, diseased, and insect-infested branches, and thin out crossing branches. Cut down tired and old stems; saw or lop them at ground level.

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