Garden Tips for the Week of September 6-12

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: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/mg/gardennotes/264-Minute2Inch.html

For more about conserving water through efficient irrigation scheduling, visit: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/mg/gardennotes/265-Scheduling.html

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: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/insect/05528.html

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.

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September 8, 2009 at 9:40 pm 1 comment

Gardening Tips for the Week of August 29- September 5

 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 23-29 was 1.27 inches, calculated for cool season turfgrass in Gunnison.  During this time period, Gunnison received .11 inches of precipitation.  So, watering 1.16 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: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/mg/gardennotes/264-Minute2Inch.html

For more about conserving water through efficient irrigation scheduling, visit: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/mg/gardennotes/265-Scheduling.html

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

 Tips for Fall Lawn Care

  •  Fall is a great time to core aerate the lawn.  It will relieve compaction, allow more  oxygen to reach the root zone of the lawn, help reduce fungal problems and improve the overall health of turf.  Consider using an organic top dressing (such as Gunnison Gold compost) on the lawn after aerating, working it into the holes created by aerating.
  • Fall is a good time to renovate and re-seed the lawn.  Eliminate weeds, amend the soil and plant grass seed in areas that need renovation.  Water seeded areas thoroughly after planting and keep moist as long as the ground isn’t frozen.
  • Rake leaves from lawn areas.  Leaves left on lawn will mat and prevent oxygen and moisture from reaching grass.  Use leaves as brown material on your compost pile.
  • Turf areas should receive a late season fertilization with a quick release nitrogen fertilizer, such as ammonium sulfate.  Even though top growth has slowed, the roots of cool season turf grasses are still quite active in Autumn.  Fall fertilization will help lawns green up more quickly next spring without the rapid flush of new growth that often happens after early season fertilization.  Soils in our area naturally tend to have high levels of phosphorous and potassium, so addition of fertilizers with these elements is often not necessary.

August 31, 2009 at 4:42 pm Leave a comment

Gardening Tips for the Week of August 23-29

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Hay producers in Gunnison County are reporting that harvests are significantly smaller than in past years and there remains some speculation about the exact cause.  Could the cool, wet spring and early summer weather be the culprit?  Did the early summer hailstorm Gunnison experienced stunt the growth of plants? Or how about the dry weather we have had later on in the summer?  Though a combination of all of these factors could certainly affect harvests, climate data also reveals that Gunnison has had about 20% fewer Growing Degree Days than at the same time last year.  Wikipedia explains the concept of Growing Degree Days as follows: 

 “In the absence of extreme conditions such as unseasonal drought or disease, plants grow in a cumulative stepwise manner which is strongly influenced by the ambient temperature. Growing degree days take aspects of local weather into account and allow gardeners to predict the plants’ pace toward maturity.  Growing degrees is defined as the number of temperature degrees above a certain threshold base temperature (at the Extension Office we use 50 degrees Fahrenheit).  The base temperature is that temperature below which plant growth is zero. Growing degrees are calculated each day as maximum temperature minus the minimum temperature divided by 2 (or the mean temperature), minus the base temperature. Growing Degree Days are accumulated by adding each day’s Growing degree contribution as the season progresses.” 

 On August 24, Gunnison had accumulated 764 Growing Degree Days during the growing season.  On August 24 of 2008, 955 Growing Degree Days had been recorded. 

Because the growth of plants and the completion of their life stages (seed germination, vegetative growth, flowering and seed production) depend on the accumulation of specific quantities of heat, calculation of Growing Degree Days can be a useful tool when trying to predict how long crops will take to reach the stage at which they can be harvested.

All of this begs the question: How has the lower number of Growing Degree Days affected vegetable gardens in Gunnison County?  Have you noticed differences in the amount of vegetables you have harvested from your garden this year?  Have your cool season vegetables (like broccoli, peas, spinach, onions, garlic, root crops, etc.) performed better than they usually do?  Have your warm season crops (tomatoes, zucchini, potatoes, etc.) languished in comparison to last year? 

Gardeners, please share your experiences and observations!  Post observations and insights from your own garden by clicking on the “Add Comment” button below.   

 “Fallscaping”

August gardeners lament the passing of colorful June and July gardens, but we can extend our garden season into autumn and now is the time to start.  Read this article written by Kathy Roth, a Master Gardener in Larimer County” to learn more about extending your garden’s beauty well into the fall and winter: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/columngw/gr080802.html

 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 16-22 1.5 inches, calculated for cool season turfgrass in Gunnison.  During this time period, Gunnison received no precipitation.  So, watering 1.5 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: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/mg/gardennotes/264-Minute2Inch.html

For more about conserving water through efficient irrigation scheduling, visit: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/mg/gardennotes/265-Scheduling.html

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

August 24, 2009 at 8:54 pm 1 comment

Gardening Tips for the Week of August 16-22

Sustainability Research Garden Tour, August 20 from Noon-1PM at the Gunnison County Fairgrounds.  Free. 

Come take a tour of this newly-planted garden at the Gunnison County Fairgrounds that is focused on testing fruit, vegetable and oil seed crops that, though not commonly grown in Gunnison County, may have good potential for food and fuel production in our cold climate and short growing season.  You’ll learn about current research in bio-fuel production, fruit crop production in other cold climates of the world, and you may even come away with some ideas for using your garden to meet your own sustainability goals.

 Saving Seed

Home Gardeners were perpetuating and improving plant varieties through seed selection before there were commercial seed producers. As the end of the growing season begins to loom on the horizon, you may be considering saving seeds from your vegetable and flower gardens to re-plant next year.  As you think about collecting and saving seed, it’s important to know a bit about the pollination and parentage of the plants you would like to save seed from.  This CSU Extension Fact Sheet gives good information on things to consider to be sure good results are yielded from your seed-saving efforts:  http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/garden/07602.html

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 9-15 was 1.29 inches, calculated for cool season turfgrass in Gunnison.  During this time period, Gunnison received .35 inches of precipitation.  So, watering .94 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: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/mg/gardennotes/264-Minute2Inch.html

For more about conserving water through efficient irrigation scheduling, visit: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/mg/gardennotes/265-Scheduling.html

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

August 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm Leave a comment

Gardening Tips for the Week of August 9-15

Frost Protection & Extending the Growing Season

Gunnison received its first “late season” frost on August 9th, putting an end to the growing season of many warm season crops that were left unprotected.  Though our growing season in Gunnison County is often very short, there are many techniques for protecting tender crops from frost and extending the growing season.  The CSU Extension Garden Notes publication gives some great tips for frost protection and extending the growing season that may help you to continue to garden successfully well into the fall (and perhaps even into the winter!)http://www.ext.colostate.edu/mg/gardennotes/722.pdf

Black Vine Weevil

You may have recently noticed widespread notching on the leaf margins of lilacs and other shrubs in Gunnison County that is caused by the Black Vine Weevil and other root weevils.  Though these insects’ feeding is evident on plants throughout the valley, it usually does not do enough damage to plants to warrant much concern.  This insect can become a nuisance, however, if populations begin to migrate into homes.  If you have been noticing root weevils invading your home, this CSU Extension Fact Sheet may be helpful as you consider what, if anything, to do to control these uninvited guests: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/insect/05551.html

Sustainability Research Garden Tour, August 20 from Noon-1PM at the Gunnison County Fairgrounds.  Free. 

Come take a tour of this newly-planted garden at the Gunnison County Fairgrounds that is focused on testing fruit, vegetable and oil seed crops that, though not commonly grown in Gunnison County, may have good potential for food and fuel production in our cold climate and short growing season.  You’ll learn about current research in bio-fuel production, fruit crop production in other cold climates of the world, and you may even come away with some ideas for using your garden to meet your own sustainability goals.

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 2-8 was 1.34 inches, calculated for cool season turfgrass in Gunnison.  During this time period, Gunnison received .01 inches of precipitation.  So, watering 1.33 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: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/mg/gardennotes/264-Minute2Inch.html

 For more about conserving water through efficient irrigation scheduling, visit: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/mg/gardennotes/265-Scheduling.html

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

August 12, 2009 at 7:33 pm Leave a comment

Gardening Tips for the Week of August 2-8

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 July 26-August 1 was 1.36 inches, calculated for cool season turfgrass in Gunnison.  During this time period, Gunnison received .63 inches of precipitation.  So, watering .73 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: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/mg/gardennotes/264-Minute2Inch.html

 For more about conserving water through efficient irrigation scheduling, visit: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/mg/gardennotes/265-Scheduling.html

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

 Nuisance Bees and Wasps

 Wasps, Yellowjackets and bees continue to bother Gunnison County gardeners this summer.  If you’re noticing a lot of these insects in your garden and would like know more about which types you may have and whether or not control is warranted, you may find this CSU extension Fact Sheet useful: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/insect/05525.html

 Eliminate Grass Clipping Collection

Did you know that One thousand square feet of bluegrass lawn generates about 200 pounds of clippings annually; of which 75 percent or 150 pounds is water?  Letting grass clippings remain on the lawn when you mow will not only eliminate a lot of landfill waste and work, it will also provide benefits to the health of your lawn.  Read this CSU Extension Fact Sheet top learn more: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/garden/07007.html

August 5, 2009 at 9:31 pm Leave a comment

Gardening Tips for the Week of July 26- August 1

Canada Thistle

Canada thistle is currently blooming in Gunnison County, which has prompted many local landowners to call the Extension Office to inquire about the best way to control and eradicate this noxious weed.  This CSU Extension Fact Sheet gives tips on establishing a successful management plan for controlling Canada thistle: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/natres/03108.html

Freezing Vegetables

If your vegetable garden is currently yielding more produce than you can eat, freezing excess vegetables can be a great way to save them for later.  Proper preparation prior to freezing vegetables is important to ensure quality produce later on.  This CSU Extension Fact Sheet offers techniques for freezing many of the vegetables that are currently being harvested from Gunnison County gardens: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09330.html

 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 July 19-25 was 1.77 inches, calculated for cool season turfgrass in Gunnison.  During this time period, Gunnison received .03 inches of precipitation.  So, watering 1.74 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: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/mg/gardennotes/264-Minute2Inch.html

For more about conserving water through efficient irrigation scheduling, visit: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/mg/gardennotes/265-Scheduling.html

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

July 28, 2009 at 5:47 pm Leave a comment

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