Western Mountains and High Plains

May, 2007
Regional Report

Mow High and Often

Spring precipitation is welcome for making cool-season grasses grow rapidly. Keep the lawn healthy by frequent mowing. Mow at a height of 2 to 2-1/2 inches to encourage deep roots and conserve soil moisture. Make sure your mower blade is sharp.

Support Your Local Peony

To keep peony bushes from flopping over, support them with tomato cages. The trick is to place the cage, top-side down, around the plant and gather the stems and leaves within the cage. Anchor down with landscape pins, and the peony growth will soon camouflage the cage.

Water Deeply

Deep, infrequent watering is healthier for the lawn than frequent, shallow watering. Water only when needed. Visual signs of footprints that remain on the lawn more than a few minutes, or a gray-blue cast to the lawn are indications that the grass needs watering. You can also insert a screwdriver 4 to 6 inches into the soil; if it's difficult to poke in and comes out dry, your lawn needs water.

Minimize Overhead Watering

One of the best ways to prevent plant diseases in your garden is to minimize using overhead sprinklers. This will keep the foliage drier so plants are less susceptible to airborne disease spores that light on moist leaves and start infections. Water with drip irrigation or a frog-eye sprinkler that delivers water directly to the soil.

Inspect Ash Leaves

Be on the watch for pin-hole feeding on emerging ash leaves. The brown-headed ash sawflies will show up this month. If you detect them on your ash trees, control these tiny larvae with soap-based sprays or hose down small trees with forceful sprays of water.

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