Western Mountains and High Plains

September, 2007
Regional Report

Beware Diseases Lurking in the Garden

Be on the watch for damage from powdery mildew disease. Symptoms include stunted new growth; white, flour-like coating on the foliage; leaf drop; and poor plant vigor. This disease favors tender growth and will infect leaves, stems, terminal buds, blossoms, and even fruit. Prune out the worst infected parts and discard them.

Keep Garden Clean

Develop good sanitation practices in the yard and garden. Clean up what's left from summer's annual flowers and vegetables. Rake up heavy accumulations of leaves and other plant refuse and put it in the compost pile if the materials are not diseased. Leaves from cottonwood, aspen, and willow should be chopped up before composting to speed up the decomposition process.

Plant Trees and Shrubs Soon

You can still plant trees and shrubs but buy plants early during special close-out sales to get the best quality possible. Then plant them before fall storms and early frosts. The earlier in the fall you can plant container-grown or balled-and-burlapped ornamentals, the better the chances for winter survival. Water regularly during fall and winter and especially be watchful when weather conditions are windy and dry.

Breathe New Life Into Your Lawn

Lawns should be core aerated in the cool weather of fall. Soak the lawn a day prior to aeration so the mechanical aerator removes deep plugs. Holes left from aeration allow for better air, water, and nutrient movement through the soil. This helps the lawn thicken up since root growth is more active during the autumn.

Add Spring-Flowering Bulbs

To add beauty and welcome spring, plant daffodils, tulips, crocuses, hyacinths, alliums, and many other spring flowers. Plant them in locations that are visible from windows so you can enjoy their show from February through June. Bulbs are short lived if planted in poorly drained soils, so amend the soil with good compost.

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