Western Mountains and High Plains
Make Your Landscape Water Thrifty
Make the use of low water-demand plants the centerpiece of naturescape or xeriscape. Choosing water-thrifty plants doesn't mean a limited selection of plant, however. A little research will help you find plants with low water need in an wide array of colors, shapes, or bloom periods.
Hang Out the Hummingbird Feeders
Hummingbirds will soon be making their way to the mountains and will benefit from supplemental food while our flowers are just getting started. Place hummingbird feeders near protected areas in a semi-shady spot to keep the nectar from spoiling. Mix one part fine sugar to four parts water and bring to a boil, simmer for three minutes. Store unused portion in refrigerator. Change nectar every three days to prevent bacterial growth.
Fertilize Cool-Season Lawns
As the soil temperatures begin to warm up, it's time to apply a regionally or locally formulated lawn fertilizer. Select carefully, as some national-brand lawn fertilizers contain little or no iron or sulfur. Most of our alkaline soils benefit from a proper balance of nutrients with ample amounts of available iron and sulfur to keep the turf green and healthy. If needed, core-aerate the lawn prior to applying the lawn food.
Prune Non-Blooming Lilacs and Forsythia
If your lilacs and forsythia failed to bloom this year, it might be caused by neglect or changes in sun exposure from maturing trees. Perhaps the shrub is planted in too shady a location and will need to be moved. Older shrubs may need some renewal pruning since they bloom best on younger branches. Remove one-third of the oldest stems at ground level after their normal blooming cycle.
Trap the Bad Bugs
To grow organic apples and pears in your home orchard, put out pheromone traps and sticky red balls. The traps and red spheres contain a hormone lure for male codling moths and help to prevent wormy apples and pears. If you need additional pest controls in the orchard, look for natural or organic-based products that are least harmful to beneficial insects and the orchard ecosystem.