Western Mountains and High Plains

May, 2007
Regional Report

Keep Birds From Eating Seedlings

If sparrows and blackbirds are eating the emerging vegetable seedlings during the wee hours of the morning, it's time to place netting over the row of lettuce, carrots, beets, or anything else. Support the netting with a couple of wooden stakes to keep it above the foliage.

Check for Aphids

Inspect the new, emerging growth on ash trees and others. It's the season when tiny, soft-bodied aphids will be hatching and feeding on the tender new growth. Hose down clusters of aphids that you can reach or use a soapy water solution. Spray when temperatures are cool in the early morning or early evening.

Watch for Hopping Lawn Invaders

Those tiny, wedge-shaped bugs that hop around your ankles when you walk across the lawn are not only a nuisance, they can cause some damage. Known as leaf hoppers, high populations will sap the chlorophyll out of the leaf blades. This will give the lawn a brownish yellow look. Spray with a homemade soap mixture or insecticidal soap. Read and follow label directions.

Cut Suckers From Tree Trunks

Take a few extra minutes to remove any fast-growing suckers that start to emerge at the base of fruit, shade, and ornamental trees. Some trees are more prone to sucker growth than others. A quick snip now will get rid of them before they become taller and thicker. Cut them down to ground level.

Prevent Fruit Pests

Growing organic fruit is not difficult if you start to control pests early. Apply an insect barrier containing the super-fine kaolin clay (Surround), which creates a white, protective barrier on fruit tree foliage and young fruit to repel most pests. Set out codling moth traps and pheromone lures for apples and pear pests. Use red sticky balls to trap apple maggot flies. Hang them in June and leave them out until harvest to reduce pest outbreaks.

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