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Looking Forward to Summer 

Anxious to get your planters filled with flowers? Contact me to get your spring planting scheduled now!

The planting schedule begins May 14 (weather permitting). Don't be tempted to set out any of your tender plants too soon! The average last frost-free date in northern Colorado is May 15.

Get Out!

Here's a check-list of yard work to do now:

  • Fertilize your plants. When plants and trees wake up from their winter nap, they are hungry! Scratch 2" - 3" of well-aged compost into the soil around your plants.
  • Core aerate your lawn. Aerating decreases thatch and encourages root growth. You can rent a core aerator from the equipment rental store or hire it out.
  • Fertilize the lawn. Using a granular fertilizer on your lawn in the spring encourages strong, thick growth which chokes out weeds and needs less water later in the season.
  • Divide fall-blooming perennials and bulbs. 
  • Cut back ornamental grasses at the base of the plant. 
  • Plant cool season vegetables such as  broccoli, carrots, lettuce, peas and radishes directly in the garden.


"I always wanted to have flowers on the deck, but I knew from experience I couldn't take care of them and keep them alive. Stephanie's automatic drip irrigation system was so intriguing I had to give it a try. Now my deck is beautiful all season long!"


--Julie,
 Fort Collins

Be My Guest

Please join me for lunch with the Fort Collins Business Women's Network on Tuesday, May 1 at 11:15. I will be making a presentation during lunch: "Fact or Fiction? Debunking Landscaping Myths." Is it true you can make a bomb with fertilizer? Is Colorado soil iron-rich or iron-poor? Come and here the truth about these myths and more! For more information and to RSVP, check the BWNFC website.

Drip Irrigation and "The Control Freak"

It sounds down-right derogatory, but I'm afraid it's true... I'm a "control freak" in my garden! I have a very low tolerance for weeds, spent flowers are quickly removed and if a plant out-grows it's designated space it gets pruned back or removed completely.

I'm also very controlling about the water use in my yard and you should be too -- water is a precious commodity here in Colorado! A drip irrigation system is well suited to the Control Freak because it is efficient, effective and versatile.

Control Issue: Efficiency.  By design, drip irrigation waters right at the soil surface. Therefore, no water is lost to over-spray onto the driveway or sidewalk. Water doesn't blow away on a windy day nor evaporate on a sunny day. A drip irrigation system targets the water directly on the roots of the plants. Space between plants is not watered - this is especially helpful for controlling weeds between shrubs. Much less water is wasted in a drip irrigation system compared to sprayers.

Control Issue: Effectiveness. The soil along the Front Range is generally described as "heavy clay." While the clay can be challenging to the gardener, it is also what makes this area livable at all -- if our soil was sandy it would be like the Sahara Desert.A rarely mentioned benefit of our heavy clay soil is that it retains the water for days when it is well soaked. Drip irrigation provides a slow, steady precipitation rate. This allows our clay soil to absorb more of the water with less run-off. The slow, steady water provided by a drip irrigation system moves water throughout the entire root zone, down deep into the soil where it will be available to the plants for much longer than if you watered lightly with the hose.

Control Issue: Versatility. The interchangeable components of a drip irrigation system are adaptable to many different situations. Whether you are watering an ornamental grass border, a perennial flower bed or the container gardens on your deck, drip irrigation is very flexible. Pieces can be added and removed with ease and the watering rates can be varied so that one plant receives more or less water than its neighbor depending on individual plants' needs. The versatility of drip irrigation is my favorite part! I am even guilty of changing pieces mid-season just to see if it will work better.

While drip irrigation is efficient, effective and versatile, I can't recommend removing your entire lawn to lay down drip irrigation lines beneath the sod. However, if you have a shrub border or flower bed you'd like to convert to drip irrigation, it may be much easier than you think. Of course, the convince of an automatic watering system (especially on your container gardens) can't be beat!

Please contact me to discuss the specific situation where drip irrigation could be useful to you. Get control over your water use! 

Stephanie Selig
tel: (970) 988-3808
Stephanie@patioplantsunlimited.com
www.patioplantsunlimited.com