Western Mountains and High Plains

May, 2014
Regional Report

Check Lawns for Grubs

If you see large flocks of blackbirds feeding on your lawn, it is likely they are feasting on grubs or cutworms. Let them do their job, the way Nature intended. It is OK to have a few grubs in the lawn; it's only when the populations are so numerous that sections of grass die that treatment should be considered. At this time of the year, mature grubs are present. These large grubs are highly resistant to insecticides; if you choose to use these chemicals, wait until midsummer to apply them to target more vulnerable young grubs. Or consider using biological control by applying parasitic nematodes in the genus Heterorhabditis.

Add Compost at Planting Time

When setting out new annuals, add a shovelful of compost to the planting hole. This will loosen the soil and encourage the transplant to develop a stronger root system. If the roots are tight in the container, gently loosen them so they can grow into the soil.

Prune Forsythia

Once the forsythia have finished blooming, it's time to prune them back. This will make them grow newer canes that will flower next spring. Older shrubs may need a hard pruning to remove the thick, dead wood.

Plant Tall Tomatoes Deep

If your tomato transplants have grown into tall beanstalks, plant them deeply. Dig the holes deep enough to set the stems down in prepared soil. Strip the lower leaves, and new roots will originate at those nodes, resulting in stronger tomato plants.

Check for Grass Mites

If you lawn is thinning out in patches, check for damage from grass mites. These tiny but mighty creatures will sap the chlorophyll and make the lawn turn yellow to brown. Rub the palm of your hand over the turf; if a reddish brown stain appears, you've got mites. They like dry conditions so pick up on the watering to deter them.

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