Garden Tips for the Week of September 6-12

September 8, 2009 at 9:40 pm 1 comment

How much should I water my lawn this week? 

For most homeowners, attention to irrigation efficiency has the greatest potential for water conservation.  In the typical home yard, extra attention to irrigation system design, maintenance, and management could reduce water use by 20-50%!  Using locally calculated evapo-transpiration (ET) rates to determine how much water to apply to your lawn will help you conserve water. 

The evapotranspiration rate for the seven day period between August 30- September 5 was 1.3 inches, calculated for cool season turfgrass in Gunnison.  During this time period, Gunnison received .12 inches of precipitation.  So, watering 1.18 inches will replace the amount of moisture that has been lost through plant transpiration and evaporation from soil during the past week and needs to be replaced to maintain a healthy lawn. 

 This is meant to be a general guide to determining your lawn’s irrigation needs.  Please note that micro-climates in your yard and various grass species in your lawn will have considerable effect on your lawn’s actual water needs, so be sure to check soil moisture to a depth of 4-8” with a garden trowel or screwdriver to determine if the root zone of your grass is sufficiently moist.

How do I figure out how long to water my lawn in order to apply the correct amount of water?  Visit this link:

For more about conserving water through efficient irrigation scheduling, visit:

For assistance in establishing an efficient irrigation schedule for your lawn, contact the CSU Extension Office in Gunnison County at 641-1260. 

 Getting Ready to Cut Firewood?

To date, Gunnison County’s forests have dodged much of the damage caused by Mountain Pine Beetle in other parts of the state.  However, entomologists warn that moving firewood from affected areas may transport these destructive insects to areas they had not previously impacted.  Learning to recognize the signs of potential Mountain Pine Beetle infested trees in areas where you may be cutting firewood can minimize the chance that you’ll bring these insects back to your own garden and the forests that may surround it.  Check out this CSU Extension Fact Sheet to learn how to recognize the Mountain Pine Beetle and the symptoms it causes in trees:

Fall Tips for Flower Beds

 Herbaceous perennials can be cut back, given a deep watering and covered with 2-3” of bark mulch or pine needles for winter protection.  Gunnison Gold compost would also be a great  winter topdressing for perennial beds.  Mulch will help the soil to retain moisture and maintain a more even soil temperature during freeze-thaw cycles.

Leaving (non-diseased or insect-infested) dried plant material in flower beds can be good for winter interest and protection.  Remaining dried foliage and stems acts as a sort of “snow fence” by capturing and storing snow that will keep the ground moist during  periods of snow melt. 

Work screened compost gently into the soil in flower beds, if possible to a depth of at least 2”.  Be careful not to damage the roots of perennials.

 In a cold climate like ours, late fall is too late to divide perennials.  Plants should be given enough time to get established before the ground freezes after dividing.  Wait until spring when plants begin active growth or late summer as growth slows to divide perennials.

If planting bulbs in the late fall, plant a bit more deeply than usually recommended to give bulbs more time to get established before the ground freezes to the depth at which they’re planted.

Fall is a good time to plant wildflower seeds.  Seeds planted in the fall will undergo the necessary stratification during cold winter temperatures and will emerge from dormancy as melting spring snow gives way to warmer temperatures.

Collect seeds from your garden to store for next year or to share with friends.  Dry seeds thoroughly and store them in breathable envelopes in your refrigerator.


Entry filed under: Weekly Gardening Tips.

Gardening Tips for the Week of August 29- September 5 Fall Gardening Tips

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Lawn Sprinklers  |  September 12, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Thank you for your information regarding evapotranspiration in plants. I think few people actually understand what it is, much less how to actually calculate their own landscaping evapotranspiration losses.

    Proper watering of a lawn means replacing what moisture your plants give up daily. Plants water losses must being replaced, either by natural rainfall or via manual watering.


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