Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Cool Garden Apps by Sheilia Canada

Spring is settling in here in the Denver-Metro area. I know that I am encountering a lot of clients that are trying a vegetable garden for the very first time. This can be challenging for us as Master Gardeners because we generally have so much information we can share that the clients eyes will begin to glaze over after about 10 minutes into the conversation. I think some of the first and best advice we can give a newbie-gardener client is reference material!

There is a plethora of gardening books we could suggest. I know my personal library is huge and I am always adding new books that I get a great deal of from Amazon. (As I think about what is currently on my way-too-long “Wish List”) Again, we could list off an intimidating list of gardening for dummies books for the intrepid wanna-be gardener.

Technology to the rescue...

There are several wonderful apps that are great & easy to use reference tools for the new or practiced gardener right on their i-phone, I-pad or android enabled devices. These programs are especially easy to share with the influx of young urban dwellers that are craving that locavore essence to include their own food or gardening resource.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Aphids by Bernadette Costa

Aphids on Leaf
Aphids are very common.  Sometimes called plant lice, they are small, soft-bodied, pear-shaped insects, generally less than 1/8” long.  Most are green or black but they can also be found in a variety of other colors as well.  A characteristic common to all aphids is the presence of cornicles, or tubes, on the back ends of their bodies, sort of like “tailpipes”.  These cornicles secrete substances that help protect the aphids from predators.  Over winter, aphids exist as eggs on perennial plants and hatch in the spring.
Aphids are found on almost all types of plants and a few species can cause plant injury. Some aphid species can curl the new leaves of some types of plant. Feeding aphids excrete honeydew, a sticky fluid that can cause nuisance problems. Natural enemies of aphids include lady beetles, flower fly larvae, lacewing larvae, and parasitic wasps.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Cottonwood Cotton by Carol King

The cottonwood cotton is flying in my North Lakewood neighborhood.  There are irrigation ditches in this part of town and the trees seem to follow the ditches. It looks like a snow storm in summer!

Here's some interesting facts about the cottonwood:

The cottonwood can grow to be one of the continent’s largest trees – up to 80 feet tall, with trunks that can reach five feet in diameter.
Cottonwoods consume a large amount of water in their growth cycle.  There are estimates that a mature cottonwood tree will use 200 gallons of water a day.

Cottonwoods live up to 100 years old.  Their roughly furrowed, thick bark makes them fire resistant, which helped them survive the regular grass fires on the Great Plains in years past.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Smart Shopping at a Farmers' Market by D'Ann McElhinney

Farmers' markets are one of the oldest forms of direct marketing by small farmers.  From the traditional “mercados” in the Peruvian Andes to the unique street markets in Asia, growers all over the world gather weekly to sell their produce directly to the public.  In the last decade they have become a favorite marketing method for many farmers throughout the United States, and a weekly ritual for many shoppers.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Spider Mites - Unwelcome Visitors! by Ron Dearwater

 Two Spotted Spider Mite, photo courtesy
Got spider mites?
Spider mites are not insects, but are arachnids which include spiders, ticks and scorpions. They are a common pest problems on many plants, evergreens and trees in yards and gardens in Colorado. The most prevalent is the two-spotted spider mite and they are no bigger than the end of a sentence!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Juniper-Hawthorn Rust by Andrew Vogt

Cedar apple or Juniper Hawthorn rust
It is late May or early June and, after some much-needed spring showers, your juniper and cedar trees look as if they were used as a backdrop for a contest in which paint ball guns were used to shoot globs of gelatin.  Globs of a tan or orange gelatinous substance of various sizes cling stubbornly to many of the smaller branches and twigs of your plants, often surrounding them and encasing some of the needles, especially on the upper and inner foliage surfaces.  Some of the globs, especially the larger ones, have noticeable protrusions that look like horns.  Within a few days, the globs of gelatin will turn the color of chocolate and begin to harden into unsightly galls that will range in size from 1/16 inch to more than 2 inches.  What happened?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Why Didn't my Lilacs Bloom? by Rebecca Anderson

Lilac (Syringa vulgaris) blossoms are classic signs of spring. However, not all lilac shrubs bloom to their expected potential.  Some factors that influence blooming are out of our control.  A late frost is often the culprit along the Colorado Front Range, freezing delicate buds before they have a chance to open.  All we can do in those years is cross our fingers and hope next spring is better.  Changes in the environment around the lilac can affect blooming. 

Sometimes these are gradual changes, such as a neighboring tree getting larger over the years and shading the lilac. Other changes are sudden, like disrupting the roots of the lilac with construction in a nearby area. Lilacs can also be infested with pests, namely oystershell scale (Lepidosaphes ulmi Linnaeus)) and lilac borers (Podosesia syringae (Harris)). These pests gradually build up over time, decreasing the vigor of the bush. The numbers of pests are greatest on the oldest stems of the lilac shrub. The best way to manage these pests is through pruning. Without routine pruning, even if no pests are present, quantities of blossoms on a mature lilac will decrease naturally. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Help for Lawn Problems by Donna Duffy

It’s that time of year – our lawn can be a delight or a headache. How’s the health of your lawn? Do you have problem areas that you just can’t remedy? Do you have sections of the lawn that look different from the rest? Is your new sod languishing in the heat? Are brown spots popping up unexpectedly?

You aren’t alone - most of us experience lawn problems at some point during the growing season. In fact, lawn problems are the number one concern brought to Colorado State University Extension offices in many urban and suburban counties. The good news is that help is just a phone call or click away.
Curtis Utley conducts a Lawn Check with Golden resident Jack Brennan