Monday, July 30, 2018

Summer Mystery: Powdery Mildews by Olivia Tracy

Photo courtesy of M. Grabowski, UMN Extension
If you’ve gone out to your peonies and found that they look like someone dusted them with talcum powder, you likely have a case of powdery mildew. Varieties of powdery mildew can affect almost every type of plant (although particular infections are host-specific), and the leafy portions of the plant are typically most affected. The original whitish-gray, powder-like growth will eventually turn brown, and then black, and can ultimately cause leaves or buds to drop off the plant.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

How to Harvest Summer Squash (Video)

Fine Gardening show us the nuances of harvesting summer squash.

The Cicadas are Singing!

Dog-day Cicada, Neotibicen canicularis
Did you know that Colorado has 26 species cicadas, all of the order Hemiptera?  It seems like the cicadas are earlier than usual this summer, I heard the first one in my garden at dusk in mid-July.  That's a bit disconcerting because according to folklore, the first cold spell arrives about 6 weeks after the first cicada serenade. But that's just folklore, right? Following are some interesting facts about cicadas.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Create a Monarch Waystation

Monarch Watch is a nonprofit educational outreach program based at the University of Kansas that focuses on the monarch butterfly, its habitat, and its spectacular fall migration. 

Monarch Watch strives to provide the public with information about the biology of monarch butterflies, their spectacular migration, and how to use monarchs to further science education in primary and secondary schools. We engage in research on monarch migration biology and monarch population dynamics to better understand how to conserve the monarch migration. We also promote protection of monarch habitats throughout North America. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Mid-summer Lawn Care: Watering by Donna Duffy

Photo courtesy Donna Duffy
Here we are in the heat of July, and your lawn watering practices may need to be altered from those that were effective in spring and early summer. Following are mid-summer watering tips from Dr. Tony Koski, CSU Extension Turf Specialist.

Follow watering programs encouraged or mandated in your community
  • Water the lawn whenever it is allowed.
  • Disregard for required community watering practices can result in substantial fines and may encourage communities to enact even stricter watering restrictions.
  • Contact your local water utility for information on your local watering restrictions.

Effective lawn irrigation requires an understanding of how the irrigation system operates, as well as ongoing maintenance of sprinkler heads
  • Learn how to program your control clock so that you irrigate according to the schedule mandated for your community.
  • Set the clock so that irrigation occurs between 6PM and 10 AM (or as otherwise mandated).
  • Repair or replace broken irrigation heads.
  • Adjust irrigation heads to avoid throwing water on streets, driveways, and other hardscape.
  • If you find that adjusting or repairing your irrigation system is too time-consuming or challenging, hire an irrigation or landscape management specialist to perform this important work.
  • Your lawn care company professional may be willing to program your irrigation control clock for you.
  • Contact your local water provider for information on conducting an irrigation audit; some lawn care companies, landscape management firms, or irrigation installation firms will conduct an audit of your irrigation system for a modest fee.

Even with unlimited watering per irrigation zone on a twice-weekly basis, lawns often will show signs of stress
  • Summer root stress reduces the ability of root systems to use water.
  • Stress will first appear in areas where irrigation coverage is lacking.

The application of wetting agents specifically developed for use on turf is recommended to reduce the occurrence of water repellent conditions in lawns
  • Wetting agents can benefit lawns subjected to extreme drying over the past few months by promoting better infiltration of water into the soil; summer use may reduce the occurrence and/or severity of dry spots in the lawn (but will NOT totally compensate for poor irrigation coverage).
  • Wetting agents are available in both granular and liquid forms; granular formulations are often easier for homeowners to apply.
  • The use of dishwashing detergents and other soaps in place of turf-type wetting agents is not recommended and may damage heat- and drought-stressed lawns.
  • The incorporation of water-absorbing polymers (sometimes called "hydrogels") into new or existing lawns does NOT reduce lawn water requirements and is not recommended for Colorado lawns.

Curtis Utley, Jefferson County CSU Extension Horticulture Agent, conducting a Lawncheck with a Golden resident
If you need help diagnosing turf problems, schedule a Lawncheck through Jefferson County CSU Extension.
Lawncheck is an on-site, lawn consultation service for a fee. A Colorado State University Extension professional will contact you to make an appointment and discuss cost. Service includes recommendations for improving your lawn and solving insect, disease and other lawn problems. To schedule a Lawncheck appointment, call Jefferson County CSU Extension at 303-271-6620.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Gardening Under Cover by Joyce D'Agostino

Photo courtesy Joyce D'Agostino
Most gardeners have to deal with a variety of weather and growing conditions each season. These challenges can include early or late frosts, too much rain or too little, excessive heat or a variety of garden pests or diseases.

Here in Colorado, many parts of our state lie within a band that goes through the US and is known for hail damage. Protecting your plants from this damage is a necessity if you want to see your garden grow from early planting to fall harvests and what is the best way to protect.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

What's Bugging my Roses? by Donna Duffy

It’s that time in early summer when roses come into full bloom. Their beauty and fragrance make them the superstars of the early summer garden. Undeservedly, roses have a reputation for being difficult to grow. In fact, very few rose diseases are found in typical Colorado growing conditions, primarily due to our high altitude and dry conditions. Even so, your roses may become afflicted with a rose pest or disease. Here are four common rose problems and their controls, courtesy of the Denver Rose Society.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

PlantTalk: Overseeding Your Lawn (Video)

Overseeding is a great way to manage bare spots in your lawn. Here are tips from PlantTalk!

Friday, July 6, 2018

Happy International Kissing Day! by Carol King

Hot Lips (Psychotria elata)
International Kissing Day was established in 2006 to focus on kissing and to celebrate the significance it holds in our society. What better place to share kisses than in the garden!  Here are four of my favorite “kissing plants”:

Polygonum orientale
Kiss-me-over-the-garden-gate (Polygonum orientale or Persicaria orientale) used to be very popular in the U.S. Originally from China, it was a particular favorite of Thomas Jefferson. (

Psychotria elata
Hot Lips (Psychotria elata). Affectionately known as Hooker’s lips, Psychotria elata has colorful red flowers that attract many pollinators, including butterflies and hummingbirds. (

Salvia microphylla ‘Little Kiss’
Salvia microphylla ‘Little Kiss’. Red and white bicolor blooms on this strong salvia. It is isease resistant with a long-lasting flowering season, (Southern Living Plant Collection)

Cupid’s Kisses’ rose

Cupid’s Kisses’ rose. Flowers have a distinctive ‘pink lipstick’ that shows on the white petal base color. (High Country Roses)

Now go out and share a kiss or two in the garden!

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Summer Hummingbird Tips By Joyce D’Agostino

Photo courtesy National Audubon Society
Now that it’s July, hopefully you are enjoying the flowering plants you added to your garden to attract pollinators. In addition to the butterflies and bees, July also brings a second opportunity to bring colorful hummingbirds to your landscape. The hummingbirds will be looking for sources of food and will remain in the area for several months.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy Fourth from the Rose Garden! by Donna Duffy

The Fourth of July is about all things patriotic: freedom, independence, fireworks! You can celebrate these patriotic roses all summer long.

Many experts consider Fourth of July the best Rose introduced in the past decade. Its climbing canes reach 12 to 14 feet tall, with fresh, healthy foliage. North or south, east or west, it demonstrates uniform vigor and flower color. And it re-blooms beginning the very first year!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

How to Build a Native Bee Hotel

Native bee hotel, photo courtesy Modern Farmer
Some people think of bees as hive creatures with a nasty sting. But not all bees live in hives or have such an aggressive approach to self-defense. In fact, the great majority of native bee species live a solitary lifestyle and have puny stingers, which are virtually harmless and rarely used.