Western Mountains and High Plains

July, 2008
Regional Report

Don't Prune Spruce Tops

If you notice the top third of spruce trees turning brown, it's not a disease. Damage is likely caused by the tussock moth. This pest has already come and gone, leaving behind the devastation of a dead top. Luckily, if this is just the first season, new growth will repair the spruce. Just be sure to prevent future damage next year in late April and early May with sprays of Bacillus thuringiensis.

Check Elderberry Foliage

Summer heat and low humidity makes elderberry leaves susceptible to spider mites. Turn over the foliage and check for webbing and tiny specks. If you see mites, give plants a good spray of water to dislodge them. Spray regularly to keep them at bay.

Welcome Tiny Brown Bats

Look to the evening skies for brown bats in your neighborhood. These small flying wonders are great for keeping the mosquito population down. A bat can consume hundreds of mosquitoes in the evening. Place a bat house on the south side of a building to encourage more bats to patrol your landscape.

Clean Up Weeds

Take time to pull or dig weeds that pop up in the cracks of sidewalks and driveways. If left unattended, weeds will go to seed to spread more invaders this fall and next spring. If hand digging is not to your liking, spot spray with a strong vinegar (10 percent acidity) to kill the younger weeds in short order.

Deadhead Coreopsis

Keep the flowers on your summer-flowering perennials pruned back once they finish blooming. This will keep the plants tidy and also encourage the plant to produce more side buds. Deadheading is a maintenance practice that promotes a longer blooming season.

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