Sunday, June 28, 2015

Downy Mildew on Sunflowers by Donna Duffy

I always grow a few sunflowers at the edge of my yard every summer. They are a great conversation piece and a delight to the neighborhood kids and birds. Because of the rain, I got the seeds started late this year and they are up about 3" this week. I was checking them out and noticed a white fuzzy substance on the bottom of the leaves on two plants. After some research, I discovered this is Downy Mildew.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Snakes in the Garden by Donna Duffy

Every summer, I am greeted by garter snakes in my garden. I really do like having them there, I just don’t like to be surprised by them. Last year I was on hands and knees, reaching deep into some overgrown perennials, pulling out dead leaves and stems. When I pulled my hand out of the darkness, I discovered my fingers were wrapped around a snake. It wasn’t pretty for either of us: the snake went flying through the air and I ended up on my back. 

It was one of Colorado’s most common snakes, Thanmophis elegans, or the Western Terrestrial Garter Snake. Here are a few facts about this harmless snake from Colorado Herping.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

An Invasion of Flea Beetles by Donna Duffy

Flea Beetle - photo courtesy CSU Extension

I was working in the yard last week and noticed an abundance of tiny, shiny, jumpy insects. After some research, I discovered that they were flea beetles. Once I identified them, I started seeing them in my neighbor’s yards as well. So I turned to CSU Extension and discovered Fact Sheet 5.592: Flea Beetles.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Spittlebugs in the Garden by Carol King

Spittlebug Froth photo UC Davis
While weeding near my bee balm (Monarda), I saw several patches of  a frothy white substance on the leaves.  Upon further study, I discovered that I have a small infestation of the spittlebug.  Aptly named, the white froth is what the immature spittlebug or nymphs surround themselves with as they feed on plant tissue.  Adult spittlebugs are inconspicuous, often greenish or brownish insects, about 0.25 inch long. 

While spittlebugs suck plant juices and can distort plant tissue and slow plant growth, they do not seriously harm plants. As they don’t cause significant damage, just wash them off with water if their appearance bothers you.  Otherwise, enjoy yet another fascinating bug in action!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Gardening Power to the People: Trellis / Vertical Gardening by Ed Powers

Watch this 4-minute video by Ed Powers, Jefferson County Master Gardener, about ideas for trellising and vertical gardening. Thanks, Ed!

Monday, June 15, 2015

What to do with a Tree Stump? by Donna Duffy

Last October, I had a huge elm tree removed from a corner of my yard. I was left with a tree stump about 2 feet tall, and it’s sprouting like crazy. I’m not sure what I want to do with this stump, so I turned to CSU Extension for information. 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Open Garden Day at CSU Horticulture Demonstration Garden by Patti O'Neal

CSU Master Gardeners of Jefferson County will be available for questions and tours of the gardens on Saturday, June 20th, from 8:00am until 1:00pm at the Horticulture Demonstration and Research Garden located at the Jeffco Fairgrounds.  

Master Gardeners tend this garden and build structures, demonstrate different planting styles and experiment with plants to show how to manage and increase harvest of produce in front range gardens.  They will be working in the garden this day and invite you to come and ask questions and take photos for ideas and learn about good gardening practices.  

Adjacent to this garden is our Plant Select garden where the public can see some really durable ornamental plants for Colorado.  We do not amend or water this garden other than what Mother Nature provides, so you can be sure these plants do incredibly well here.  

Come and bring questions, cameras or samples of plant problems from your gardens and Master Gardeners will help you to understand what’s happening this year and how you can help your plants to thrive. 

Please join us!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

June Lawn Care by James Johnston

This spring we have had an abundance of moisture and our lawns and gardens are benefiting from it. With its deep green color, Kentucky Bluegrass is in its glory…for now. Leap forward to late June/July with the watering restriction and take into consideration how to maintain your lawn. Whether your turf is a bluegrass, ryegrass, or fescue, proper watering techniques can promote a healthy lawn.

Kentucky Bluegrass or ryegrass lawns need anywhere from 1” in shady areas to 2.25” of water per week in full sun. This may be difficult to do with the restrictions but the following information may help you get the best results for your lawn.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Growing Sunflowers by Billi Mavromatis-Jacobson

Sunflowers, bright and brash, they’re beacons for butterflies and bees in your garden. Sunflowers are a New World native that exists throughout the whole of North America down to Central America.  They can be found at archeological sites dating back to 3,000 BC.

  For those of us who have placed our faces or cameras close to a sunflower in bloom, we know that the sunflower head is not a single flower as the name implies but is made up of over 1,000  individual flowers joined at a common receptacle. It is commonly believed that the sunflowers turn their heads to follow the sun each day but only the immature and developing flower heads do this. Sunflowers will grow in a wide range of soils from sands to clays. They prefer to be direct seeded after all danger of frost.  Plant when day and night temperatures are above 50 degrees Fahrenheit and optimum temperatures for growth are 70 to 78°F. Sunflowers need at least six hours of full sun a day and should be spaced per planting instructions.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Support for Vines by Rebecca Anderson

Photo courtesy of University of Minnesota Extension

Colorado’s summer sunshine really makes the squash, cucumber and melon vines take off in the garden. One way to keep them from taking over is to train them to a trellis before they get too big. Besides helping manage space, produce harvested from trellised vines is cleaner and, in the case of cucumbers, straighter than ones grown on the ground. Varieties that have fruit that matures at less than 3 pounds are the easiest to trellis. Some larger varieties can still be grown vertically, but will require some extra support.  

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Spring Planting? Add Some Natives to Your Landscape! by Donna Duffy

Aquilegia caerulea (Colorado Columbine)
There is a growing trend among Colorado gardeners to incorporate native plants, trees and shrubs into their landscapes. Indeed, in some areas, native plantings may be required by law, covenant or policy. There are so many good reasons to include native plants in the landscape! They attract pollinators, butterflies and birds, they are adaptable to poor soil, and they typically require less water. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Planting Trees in Colorado by Carol King

Photos by Carol King

Spring is typically tree and shrub planting time in Colorado.  The garden centers and big box stores are offering a huge assortment to choose from.  How does one know which tree to choose?  Choosing the right tree is essential to tree health and success. Don’t just go to the garden center and take whatever you can find.  Put some study into it. 

Ask yourself some questions. What is growing well in your neighborhood? What varieties are suited to Front Range Colorado and are most resistant to common insect and disease pests? What is the purpose of my tree?  Shade? Fruit? Windbreak?  This can be a daunting decision so here are some resources to help:

Front Range Tree Recommendation List, from Colorado Nursery Grower's Association, American Society of Landscape Architects Colorado, the Colorado Tree Coalition, and Colorado State University Extension.
Recommended Trees for Colorado Front Range Communities, from Colorado State Forest Service,
Read more: Colorado tough: Great trees for your Western garden - The Denver Post