for your flowers
We are about midway
through our growing season and your flowers may need a bit of extra
If you have concerns
or questions about your container gardens or irrigation system, please contact
me right away.
Although we had a touch of rain the past
couple of days, more heat is sure to come. Be sure your flowers have
enough water. To prevent run-off, water more frequently rather than for
a longer time. (This is an
effective strategy for lawn watering as well.) If you
have a timer, add another start time. You can find timer
programing instructions here.
Two products I use and recommend are Osmocote's Slow Release Plant
Food: Vegetable and Bedding (sprinkle on the soil) and Fertilome's
Blooming and Rooting Soluble Plant Food (mix with water). Of course,
you don't need to use both products, just one or the other. If you want
something natural and organic, sprinkle bone meal on
the soil. Of course, if you have a fertilizer canister on your
irrigation system, you can just add 4 Tbsp. of water soluble fertilizer
to the canister and let the irrigation system do the fertilizing for
you. For more information about fertilizer types, check out
this past newsletter.
"Deadheading" means removing the flowers that are spent or past. When
you deadhead the plants in your containers, you want to remove
the dead flower and all its parts off the stem. Annual
plants spend their whole lives trying to reproduce. When you
get the seed pod off of the plant before the seeds mature, the plant
will produce more flowers constantly trying to make more
seeds. For more details on deadheading, check this newsletter
from last year.
Also, if you're considering doing some landscaping work, please call me
(970-988-3808) to help you with your landscape design.
This year's newsletter series is "Insects: the Good, the Bad and the
Ugly." I keep a newsletter
archive on my website if you would like to look back to
Good: Aphidius Wasp
(1/8" long) creatures are sometimes mistakenly called flying ants. They
do not sting and feed only on aphids. The wasp lays one egg inside one
aphid; the egg hatches and the wasp larva consumes the aphid as it
matures. The wasp then exits the aphid and leaves behind an empty shell
called a “mummy.” In the second picture, you will notice a mummy, an
empty mummy shell and an ant which is herding/farming the aphids and
protecting them. Look for the mummies on infested plants; control is
already occurring and you may not have to do anything else to control
Also tiny (1/8"
or smaller), aphids are green, yellow, brown, red, gray or black and
are a very common garden pest. The hind end has two little tube-like
protrusions called cornicles which you can see in this picture and
aphids have piercing, sucking mouth parts. The affected plant is
discolored, curled or distorted, generally at non-life threatening
levels but disfigured. Aphids secrete sticky “honeydew” which
ants love to eat. Ants are often seen herding and protecting the aphids.
I find aphids incredibly annoying but they have a very interesting life
cycle. All aphids are clones; each female is born pregnant and
continues to give birth her entire life. Thus a population of aphids
can seem to explode overnight. Late summer environmental cues trigger
the production of male and sexual-form females which then mate and
produce egg-laying females. Eggs are laid and spend the
winter on the woody stems of tree, shrubs or garden debris.
Anticipation is a great weapon against aphids; if you had a problem
last year, you will likely have one again this year. Many,
many beneficial insects and even birds feed on aphids so you may risk
killing natural predators by using insecticides. A jet of water from
the hose can lower the aphid population until their natural predators
Ugly: Paper Wasp
wasps make papery nests under eaves, in trees, along fences and many
other places by gathering fibers from dead wood or plant stems. They
aggressively defend the nest, although it is abandoned at the end of
the year and a new one made next year. Of the Vespidae
species, paper wasps are social, hunting wasps –
the nest is many individuals working together with very specialized
tasks. Their young are fed on a delicacy of “caterpillar
paste” (the adults chew up the caterpillar and feed it to the young) or
other insect parts. The adults feed on nectar.
There are many types of instant knock-down wasp sprays available.
However, since wasps are pollinators, feed on other pest insects and
don’t damage plants, they are considered beneficial insects. If there
is a nest in your yard and it is not in a location that is bothersome
or dangerous, please consider leaving it alone.
you're really interested in bugs, here are a few good resources:
Wikipedia. Wikipedia Foundation,
27 Apr. 2013. Web. 29 Apr. 2013.
Jessica. Good Bug, Bad Bug: Who's Who, What They Do, and How
to Manage Them Organically: All You Need to Know about the Insects in
Your Garden. Pittsburgh, PA: St. Lynn's, 2008. Print.
Western Garden Book. Menlo Park, CA: Lane, 1988. Print.
David, and Whitney Cranshaw. Insects and Diseases of Woody
Plants of the Central Rockies. [Fort Collins, Colo.]:
Colorado State University Cooperative Extension, 2000. Print.