Monday, July 6, 2020

Chelinidea vittiger aequoris nymph by Kimberly Sheahan

Photo: Kimberly Sheahan
Photo of adult cactus bug by Lyle Buss, University of Florida
I love this time of year because my xeriscape yard is in bloom.  I recently signed up to be a citizen volunteer for the Native Bee Watch (you can check out more information here if you’re interested  As part of my new interest in bees, I’ve been photographing them as they pollinate the cacti in my yard. Today I noticed something odd on one of my opuntia sp. pads (prickly pear), it looked like it had a weird growth of extra spines.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Celebrate 4th of July with Plants by Pam Hill

Courtesy: Good Earth Plants

This Fourth of July is the 244th anniversary of the day in 1776 when the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence.  The first organized celebration with fireworks followed in Philadelphia in 1777 and continued through the 19th century, though the date did not become an official federal holiday until 1941.  

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Victory In the Garden - Fertilize For Growth by Erin Matthias

 Courtesy IPM University of Missouri
Fertilizing is a must if you want high yielding plants and the best quality produce from your Victory Garden. But, what exactly, do those three numbers on a fertilizer package mean? And what’s best, organic or conventional fertilizer? Finally, how do we know how much fertilizer to give, and when is the best time to fertilize?

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Freeze, Drought and Damage to Trees by Heather Duncan

A frost-damaged tree. (Courtesy of Colorado State Forest Service)
In early October 2019, we experienced an extreme weather event when from October 9-11 our front range temperatures dropped from highs in the upper 70’s to lows in the 10’s or even single digits before rising again to the mid 60’s.  Most of our trees had not yet hardened off for winter causing a range of damage. While weaker trees may have suffered more severe damage, healthy trees likely weathered this event with minimal damage such as blackening or browning of leaves on deciduous trees or “grizzled” foliage on evergreens. 
Many of our healthy trees hold enough reserves to handle a single event like this so any longer-term damage would necessitate additional stressors and Mother Nature never disappoints!
Over this past winter, we experienced a short period of drought during December and January.  The front range received only three weather events that brought any measurable precipitation during those months.  The dry winter conditions likely added additional pressure to our trees, especially to those that did not receive any supplemental water during this period.  Signs of winter injury might include browning or rust colored needles on evergreens and sun-scald or leaf scorch on deciduous trees.
Photo: Mary Beth Mainero

Photo: Heather Duncan
Normal Needle Drop
Photo: Heather Duncan
And to add this…in April 2020 temperatures plunged again!  While many spring plants can tolerate light freezes or temperatures of 29º Fahrenheit, we experienced another deep freeze just as many trees were budding and beginning to flower.  From April 10-13 our temperatures dropped from highs in the upper 60’s to lows well below freezing and into the teens.  Not only did this freeze result in a Disaster Declaration for our Western Slope from the USDA, many of our other trees around the state, already stressed by the previous drought and early fall freeze, suffered additional damage such as leaf or flower buds being killed or leaf distortion.
Photo: Heather Duncan
But don’t dismay!  While flower buds are gone for this season and you’ll likely have to wait for next year to see those again, most healthy trees and shrubs have enough reserved energy to form a second flush of leaves.  Many of our trees on the front range have already leafed out again.  Here are some tips and resources linked below on how to manage your trees going forward:
·      Water appropriately:  if there isn’t rain or snow in the forecast, water the root zone to a depth of around 12 inches once or twice per month (even over the next winter) however be careful to not overwater
·      Mulch: applying mulch under a tree may help reduce moisture loss and competition from turf and improve moisture penetration into the soil
·      Hold off on the fertilizer: wait until the tree has fully re-leafed
·      Watch and wait for continued leaf and needle emergence:
o   check for soft/pliable limbs and buds (alive) or dry/brittle limbs and buds (dead)
o   healthy trees will likely form new buds this summer and over the coming seasons will fill in the gaps
o   only prune out dead branches after new growth has emerged and do not prune any living tissue
And for additional information, as always, the Jefferson County Colorado Master Gardeners are here to support you.  Please visit our website at
Additional information is available:  Western Slope, Woody Plants, CSU-Woody Plants

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Hidden from View by Nancy Shepard

Photo: Nancy Shepard

Whether we are beginner gardeners or those with years of experience, the one thing we all share in common are the things we don’t want others to see. While I’ve never tried to achieve the look of Martha Stewart’s potting shed prepped for photos in her magazine, I am mortified by how my side yard looks:

Monday, June 29, 2020

My Square Foot Garden Venture by Belinda Ostermiller

Photo: Belinda Ostermiller
Inspired by recent Colorado Master Gardener classes, I decided now is a good time to try my hand at vegetable gardening - not that I haven't grown the odd tomato or lettuce before. This time something a little more adventurous was in order.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Is that flower pollinated? CSU Native Bee Watch

CSU - Native Bee Watch
"Bees are pollinating flowers only when they are visiting the reproductive flower parts. If the bee is on the petals, leaves, or stem, the bee is not pollinating. Look inside a flower to see the anthers and the stigma. Note the pollen on the anthers. That pollen needs to be transferred to another flower of the same species or the same plant."

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Supporting Your Pollinators by Kimberly Sheahan

Photo: Kimberly Sheahan

Late spring is a wonderful time in Colorado - gardens are beginning to hit their stride and show off their magnificent blooms and the pollinators are hard at work.  A wonderful way to support pollinators and beneficial insects that you've attracted to your garden is to provide them their own water source separate from birds.  Typically, a bird bath is too deep for pollinators as well as potentially putting them near predators.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Fruit Pollinators by Steven White

Courtesy Wikipedia 
As your Victory Garden expands into planting Fruit Trees, one of the questions you will run into is ‘do I have enough space’.  Trees are obviously larger and may need another tree variety for pollination. Fruit trees are divided into two categories, self-fruitful (does not need a pollinator to set fruit) and self-unfruitful (needs a pollinator of another variety to set fruit).  The fruits below will aid in determining what you plant. 

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Summer Solstice by Vicky Spelman

Courtesy Pixabay
Hello Summer and the longest day of the year! 

Summer Solstice 2020 in the Northern Hemisphere will be at 3:43 PM on Saturday, June 20th.

Summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere occurs on June 20, 21 or 22, when the sun reaches its most northerly point, directly overhead at the Tropic of Cancer (23 degrees 27 minutes north latitude). The summer solstice is the longest day of the year and marks the beginning of summer.

A solstice is different from an equinox, the two times each year when the sun is directly above the Earth's equator and day and night are of equal length. Equinoxes mark the beginning of spring (March) and fall (September).
Solstice loosely translated in Latin is "sun stands still". For several days before and after each solstice the sun appears to stand still in the sky, i.e., its noontime elevation does not seem to change from day to day.

Cultures around the world have held celebrations in conjunction with the solstice for hundreds of years. Among these is Midsummer, which is celebrated on June 24 in Scandinavia and other northern European countries. 

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Quick Guide to Growing Cucumbers-2020 Victory Garden by Dorianne Bautista

Courtesy Pixabay

Delicious eaten fresh or pickled, here is your quick guide to growing cucumbers!

Monday, June 15, 2020

Are Your Lilacs Blossoms Looking “Rusty’? Time to Prune By Joyce D’Agostino

Photo Joyce D'Agostino
For those who love lilacs, having those wonderful blooms and fragrance is a welcome end of the long winter. Lilacs now come in various shades of purple, lavender, pink and white. 
But now that the season for lilac blooming is over, you may notice that those lovely flower heads are replaced with unsightly rusty colored heads. This is normal for your lilac and not an indication of a decline in the shrub or a disease. However now that the blooms are done and before the lilac prepares for next season, you have a window of time now in June to do some removal of those old flowers as well as some pruning.