Western Mountains and High Plains

August, 2012
Regional Report

Mow Lawn Frequently

To keep your lawn growing strong and reduce summer stress, mow the grass as often as it needs it. Remove only a half-inch of the leaf blade per mowing to avoid stressing the lawn. Mowing your lawn too short or waiting too long between mowings will result in "white tipping" or yellowing of the lower blades. This opens the turf to summer diseases.

Give Trees Deep Watering

Protect your trees from summer heat stress by deep watering on a regular basis. Set out a twin-eye or "frog-eye" sprinkler at the dripline of the tree and water for 15 to 20 minutes per setting. Water this way at least twice a month during the summer.

Watch for Tobacco Budworms on Flowers

It's time for the invasion of tobacco budworms as they attack geraniums, petunias, and flowering tobacco (nicotiana) in the flower garden. One of the safest controls is Bt or Bacilllus thuriengensis. It is bacterial warfare that is specific to caterpillars and won't harm other beneficial insects in the garden. However, use it judiciously since it will harm all butterfly and moth larvae.

Pick Summer Squash Often

To keep summer squash producing tender young fruits longer into the season, harvest often. Don't allow the squash to become over mature as this signals the plant to stop producing new fruits. I prefer to pick zucchini when they are 7-to 8-inches long. This is when they are most tender with minimal seed development.

Prune Out Dead Wood

Observe trees and shrubs in summer to find dead branches. If dead wood is visible, prune it out at your earliest convenience. Leaving it around will attract borers and other critters. Use sharp pruners to make clean cuts and remove branches and stems completely.

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