Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Rocky Mountains

May, 2004
Regional Report

Reduce the Spread of Leaf Diseases

To prevent leaf diseases on aspens, practice good sanitation by cleaning up last year's fallen leaves and other plant debris around the base of the trees. Dispose of promptly. Disease spores can carry over year after year and will splash up or be carried by the wind to reinfect the young leaves.

Cover Up Vegetables

Flea beetles are on the move attacking radishes, turnips, spinach, and other leafy vegetables in the home vegetable garden. These insect pests will riddle the foliage with holes overnight. An effective way to reduce damage from flea beetles without chemical sprays is to cover plants with floating row covers. This material is especially effective in excluding these tiny pests.

Spot Treat Weeds with Homemade Weed Control

When weeds pop up in the cracks of driveways, sidewalks, and gravel areas, you can control them with a homemade weed killer that kills the whole plant -- roots and all -- for up to one growing season. Mix 1 pound of table salt into 1 gallon of 5 percent acidic vinegar. Pour the solution into a 1-1/2- or 2-gallon, pressure tank sprayer and spot spray the weeds. Caution: this homemade weed killer is a temporary soil sterilant so use it with care. Do not apply on or near roots of trees, shrubs, flowers, or other plants you desire to keep.

Check Plants When Shopping

When shopping for annual bedding plants, be sure to check the undersides of the leaves and along the stems. Impatiens, geraniums, fuchsias, tomatoes, peppers, and certain herbs, like basil, are frequently infested with white flies. It won't take long for these pests to find their way to other plants in your garden. Aphids, which are soft-bodied insects, are especially fond of young growing shoots of plants. If you see plants that are under attack by bugs, pass them up and pick out healthy ones.

Remove Crepe Tree Wrap

If you haven't removed the tree wrap from the trunks of young trees, take time to do it now. If tree wrap is left on throughout the summer, it's a great place for some insects to set up house. Even disease spores can find the perfect environment to start growing underneath the tree wrap. Bark needs exposure to sunlight and air circulation to develop naturally and adapt to our climate.


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