Western Mountains and High Plains

August, 2008
Regional Report

Invite More Butterflies

Now that the butterfly bushes (Buddleia spp.) are in bloom, you'll have more visitors, and you can keep the butterflies around by setting out some shallow containers filled with water. Add a few pebbles or small stones to create landing sites for the butterflies to stop and cool down.

Start Harvesting Potatoes

Use a small pitchfork or spading fork to partially harvest potatoes when the foliage begins to die back. Gently dig around the plants to lift developed potato tubers out of the ground. Cover the remaining new spuds with loose soil or mulch for future harvests.

Remove Fallen Fruit

As the fruit orchard yields its bounty, be sure to pick up and dispose of overripe plums and apricots. Left in the orchard, these rotting fruits will attract wasps and flies, and it's worth minimizing the chance of getting stung when harvesting.

Watch for Powdery Mildew

It's the season for the white, powdery, talc-like substance on shrubs, lawns, and vegetables. Powdery mildew can be safely controlled using a combination of summer horticultural oil (2 tablespoons) and baking soda (1 tablespoon) in 1 gallon of water. Apply to susceptible plants every 10 days or as needed.

Tackle Crabgrass

If crabgrass and other annual grasses pop up in the thin areas of the lawn or along driveways and sidewalks, a simple and safe control is hand pulling. Pick a day after a good rain or watering of the lawn. These shallow-rooted grasses generally pull out easily.

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