Four Tips to Save Your Lawn in the Autumn Months

Here are four tips to keep your lawn looking gorgeous through the upcoming fall and winter months.

Fertilizing: It is very important to keep your lawn fertilized. As autumn goes on, your grass struggles to get the nutrients it needs. We offer fall lawn fertilization that’s called “winterization.”  It’s lower in nitrogen and designed to help with root growth.  It will absolutely help to keep your lawn looking its best.

Mowing: Mowing is often thought of as a spring or summer activity. You must, however, continue mowing into the fall until it stops growing. Set your blade low if you can and keep you grass short to ensure it gets enough sunlight and so it does not mat down.

Raking Leaves: The importance of raking your leave also cannot be overstressed. Leaves left on the grass will not allow the grass to breath. Just like water and nutrients, sunlight is important to your lawn. There is so much sunlight in Denver and just like mowing, raking ensures your grass is exposed to the sun.

Weed Control: With grass growing weaker in the fall, weeds are ready to move in and take over. Weed control is important. Only spot spray weeds, as herbicides are very bad for trees and shrubs, and build up within the soil with repeated use. We do not recommend “weed and feed” products for this reason.   Revive, a Denver-based product, is an exceptional alternative. It is made of all natural ingredients that strengthen your grass, thus pushing out and helping to control weeds.

These tips are great for Denver lawn care, but they are not guaranteed to work. Denver lawn care services and treatment professionals are a great resource to help you grow your lawn.

While we talk about fall now, Denver lawn care always takes fore-thought, and it’s never too early to think about spring. Right now we are offering a great discount on keeping your lawn weed-free in 2016.

Fall leaf colors explained and more!

Autumn Color Changes

As summer wanes, cooler temperatures along with shorter days and less water, cause the Pine needle dropchlorophyll in leaves to begin to break down.  This allows the remaining pigments to be revealed: carotenoids produce the yellow colors, and anthocyanins are responsible for red colors.  In Colorado, fall leaf color typically lasts from September into November.  As conditions become drier, colorful leaves fade to brown and soon fall.  Surprisingly to many of us, this same annual phenomenon occurs in Pines, Spruce and Fir.  They are naturally shedding their older needles.  Pines do this more regularly creating a tufted look.  Spruce and Fir retain their needles longer creating a fuller, greener form. The time of year, color and suddenness are all indications that this is a normal event.  Often with drought or another stress, trees will shed more creating a thinner canopy. Each year and each tree is different. The end of the season and the coming of winter is welcome.  We can slow our pace a bit, reflect and plan for the future.  It is also a great time to prune your trees.  Insects and disease are dormant, and we can see the form and structure of a tree. Our team is made up of year-round arborists.

In this season we are thankful for trees and all our wonderful loyal customers.

We are offering a 10% winter pruning and removal discount in the Colorado Springs area;
if you would like an estimate,
please call our Colorado Springs Office at 719-444-8800.

Lawn Mites – what can you do?

The warm days and cold nights this October have caused mites to come out early. Lawn mite populations are already high, so damage is already starting in dry and sunny areas of lawns.

As soon as the sprinkler systems get turned off for the season, mite activity starts. Now is the time to start taking south facing lawn miteaction to cut back on winter mite activity. The best way to prevent costly and time consuming lawn repairs in the spring is to combat mite activity during the winter.

During the winter, mites often do a great deal of damage to areas of a lawn while snow covers other areas. Because of this, Mountain High charges only for the areas sprayed.

mites by sidewalkA combination of winter watering and mite sprays can keep a yard happy and healthy throughout the dormant season.

Areas of west and south facing turf are particularly susceptible to lawn mite damage.  As the winter sun beats down on these areas it provides extra heat for the mites to actively feed.  At the same time the heat is drying out the ground, so there is no moisture to replenish what the
mites are taking from the grass.
Other areas hard hit by mites are areas where the sun reflects down from windows, off of light colored fences, rock walls and under evergreens.

Remember:  Winter watering is often not enough to prevent damage.  However, winter watering in combination with targeted mite sprays can reduce mite populations to the point where grass can fully and quickly recover in the spring.

Let Mountain High team up with you, so together we can prevent unsightly and expensive mite damage.

Freezes, snow, hail and now Squirrels!


Squirrel stripping the bark

This past Mother’s Day snow storm damaged many of our trees.  Unfortunately, the
damage from that weekend continues to accumulate.  The cold from Mother’s Day killed many flowers on Apples, Crabapples, Peaches, Plums, and Pears.  Without flowers, most of our fruiting trees did not produce fruit.  The lack of available fruit has forced squirrel populations to expanding their foraging, and this has resulted in an explosion of trunk and bark damage to a vast number of our shade trees.  Locust and Elm trees are often damaged by squirrels, but this season we have found extensive bark damage to Hackberries, Maples, Oaks, Elms, Locusts, and just about every species of tree along the Front Range.  There is very little that can be done to prevent squirrel damage.  The damage is often seen in small tip branch dieback scattered throughout the tree’s canopy.  As this damage accumulates it can significantly impact the growth and appearance of the tree.   In some instances this season we have even seen total tree death as a result of extensive squirrel damage.

2016 Notable Trees Calendar – Just Released

Mountain High is honored to be a sponsor of the 2016 Notable Trees of Colorado Calendar.  This commemorative edition celebrates the 25th Anniversary of the Colorado Tree Coalition.  Becky Wegner again chaired the committee for the Colorado Tree Coalition that produced the calendar.  This 15 month (October 2015 to December 2016) colorful and informative calendar features 15 champion and notable trees throughout Colorado.  February features the champion one-seed Juniper in Garden of the Gods Park.  If you love trees or want to learn more about them, this is the calendar for you.  Go to to order your calendar today.

CS Cover pic

Fall Needle Cast – When should you be concerned

In September, we start receiving calls from our concerned customers about their Pine and Spruce trees “turning brown”. This needle browning occurs every fall and is normal as long as the tissue that is changing color is the older needle tissue and not the current year’s growth. “Fall Needle cast” in Spruce and Pine trees is analogous to the annual leaf drop of deciduous trees, but just on a much longer schedule. As needles fall needle cast needle castage and become less productive/efficient, it is necessary for the tree to shed this material before it requires more energy to maintain than it produces. Spruce trees are often less noticeable with their needle cast because they tend to have denser canopies than Pine trees.  You would have to get closer to see the needle cast in the Spruce, but the changing of color in the Pines can be seen from a significant distance.  Many of the Pines have already begun their change in the foothills in Boulder, Golden, Evergreen and Conifer.  White Pines are always the easiest to notice as they drop their needles in the fall, and we always receive several concerned calls about the various White Pine species.

The timing of the “Fall Needle cast” is also important. Because weather and daylight are the dominant triggers, we expect the vast majority of the trees to show their needle browning at about the same time. Damaged or stressed trees can begin to show needle browning early. Early needle browning and subsequent needle drop is something that deserves a little investigation into what else might be happening. Stress can come from sources like recent transplanting, insect damage, drought, or soil compaction.  If you have questions or concerns about what is happening to your trees give us a call and we can help with the investigation.




Fall is here! Is your lawn ready?

Watering Your Lawn

sprinklers 2Even though temperatures might be cooler than in summer, your lawn still needs water. Since lawn grasses continue to grow throughout the fall, watering is still important to sustain growth. Go ahead and water as needed, usually about an inch to an inch and a half per week, until the ground is cold and beginning to freeze. If you have an automatic irrigation system, avoid damage by having it blown out with compressed air before water freezes in the pipes and sprinkler heads.

A quick note on winter watering: Even dormant grass needs some moisture. In addition, winter watering of exposed areas of the lawn, particularly south and west facing areas, can cut down on winter mite damage. For yards with a history of mite damage, Mountain High does offer winter mite sprays, but even with chemical control, winter watering may be needed in dry areas.

Broadleaf Weed Control

Fall is a good time to control perennial broadleaf weeds such as dandelions, plantain, clover, and mallow. If your weeds are few and scattered—or confined to a few small areas—spot-treating them with herbicide is usually sufficient. Weed-control products sold in ready-to-use spray containers make spot treatment easy. Make sure to complete treatments when temperatures are still warm enough to be effective.  Herbicides are only effective when the weeds are still actively growing, so the application needs to be done before winter cold sets in.

Fertilizing Your Lawn

Applying a final dose of fertilizer in September or October will set your lawn up for a quicker recovery. (Not necessary if you are on our Extended Release lawn program.) This winterizing fertilizer provides your grass with nutrients that will be absorbed and stored until needed for spring growth. Lawns that have received late-season fertilizing are often the first to begin growing in the spring.

Seeding and Sodding Your Lawn

Fall is normally the best time of year to put down seed or sod to repair lawns damaged by summer heat. Seeding should be completed before the end of September. Cool temperatures usually make fall seeding or sodding successful. However, this year, the extreme drought conditions will make seeding less effective since soil moisture content is low, and watering restrictions make getting enough water every day to keep soil moist both tough to do and expensive. Spring seeding may be a better option for many people.

An application of Revive from Mountain High can help spur some growth and recovery, and is a good option for yards with some summer drought damage.

Raking Leaves

Lawn raking in the fall removes excess organic debris, and can help maintain water quality. In winter, freezing and thawing can cause leaves, dead grass plants, and other organic debris to mat and cause snow mold under snow packed areas

Recycling Leaves

There are several environmentally friendly options when it winter-lawn.2582424_std 2comes to disposing of fallen leaves. The preferred way is to compost them, because composting keeps leaves out of streets and storm sewers. You can also use fallen leaves, whole or chipped by a power mower, as winter mulch around rose bushes and landscape plants. Whatever method you use, remember that the cleaner a lawn is going into the winter the quicker the recovery will be when spring hits.

Mowing Your Lawn  

04_before_after_ruler 2It’s important to keep your grass 2 to 2-1/2 inches tall throughout the fall. If your grass gets much longer (more than 3 inches) it will mat, leading to winter lawn disease problems such as snow mold. If you cut it shorter than 2 inches, you’ll severely limit its ability to make and store food for growth in the spring.

Meet Jesse Raap!

Meet Jesse Raap!  


Jesse is originally from Illinois, just west of Chicago.  He attended Dupage college in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.

Feeling the need to spread his wings, Jesse moved out to Colorado in the fall of 2014.  His love of hiking and backpacking probably didn’t have anything to do with that decision!

Jesse, as a certified arborist, pulls some double duties here at Mountain High.  Normally he works with our plant health care division but has been helping out our trim deparment.

Jesse has a pretty large family that are spread throughout the United States.  We are lucky to have Jesse here with us at Mountain High, he is a genuinely nice person and works hard at whatever he does.  Just beware of his fantasy football skills!



Winterize Checklist For Tree Care

During the fall months, trees are doing a lot of hard work preparing for the harsh winter ahead.  There are a few simple steps you can take to make this transition easier on the trees you love.


Prune dead, diseased and overlapping branches in late fall. This will strengthen the tree, encourage new strong growth in the spring, minimize potential future storm damage and protect against overwintering disease and insects.

Remove all deadwood that is clearly visible. Prune back branches that can touch the ground when loaded with rain and snow. Foliage and branches that are in contact with soil invite undesirable pests and other problems. Remove damaged and wilted twigs, branches and bark.  Remove any new sprouts that have grown at the tree base, or along stems and branches.

Mulch and Aerate:

Mulch adds a layer of protection against temperature fluctuations and moisture.  Spread a layer of mulch to cover the soil several inches deep. Cover an area at least as large as the branch spread. In addition to protecting feeder roots, mulch also recycles nutrients directly to these roots.

Aerate soils and compacted mulch if they are water logged or poorly drained. Saturated and dense soil can suffocate roots. It is critical not to damage the tree roots in the soil as you do this, so work only on those few inches at the surface crust.

Fertilize and Water:

Fertilize your trees by top dressing over the mulch with a balanced fertilizer. Avoid using fertilizer heavy in nitrogen. Nitrogen boosts growth, especially in new and mature trees.  You do not want a “flush” of growth during late fall periods of warming, when the tree is supposed to be dormant. Want help? Contact our Arborists, we can come out and analyze your trees to determine if fertilization and pruning is needed.

Dry spells in winter or hot daytime temperatures can dry a tree out very quickly. Watering is needed on warm winter days when soils are cool but not frozen, and there has been little precipitation. Winter droughts need treatment with water the same as summer droughts, except it is much easier to over-water in winter.

Dormant Spray:

A dormant spray may be a good idea for deciduous trees, ornamentals, fruit trees and shrubs. Remember to prune before you spray.  No need in wasting time and money by spraying before you cut!

Which chemicals you use are important. Dormant sprays include lime, copper and sulfur combinations to kill overwintering microorganisms. Dormant oil controls insects and their eggs.  Ask your local arborist for suggestions based on your bug problems.

Your trees are now ready to face the winter cold!



Don’t forget to water – Voles are still active

I have seen several drought stressed lawns this month and cannot say it enough…watering is key to keeping your lawn healthy and fall is a key time to prepare your lawn for winter. It is also the time when watering is most often neglected.  foot prints indicating dry turfIgnoring fall watering will open your lawn up to insects and diseases. Proper watering should take into consideration the species, soil type, fully shaded area, full sun areas and weather conditions.  A sure sign that your lawn is dry is when you leave footprints on your lawn that do not disappear within 1 hour.

Clean up any debris on your lawns such as leaves. Many trees are experiencing early leaf drop this season so there are sure to be many leaves just lying around.

We are also recommending a fall lawn fertilization to prepare your lawn for winter.

Voles have continued to be a problem this year, which is Vole 2unusual during the summer months. Voles are small mammals, slightly larger than a mouse, that normally live in field and shrub habitats. In the wild, voles forage on native vegetation and provide a valuable food source for predators such as weasels, owls, hawks, and snakes. In homeowner plantings, however (including lawns, flowers, shrubs, and home orchards), voles can cause serious Vole trailsdamage by eating flower bulbs, girdling the stems of woody plants, and gnawing roots. Plants not killed outright may be invaded by diseases or die from water stress during periods of drought. It is important to be alert for signs of vole damage. In lawns, trails or paths can be seen leading back to the den or mulch/rock area. Often times this damage occurs under snow and is not visible until the snow melts. In bushes, the girdling of the bases will cause browning, killing limbs of evergreen shrubs leading to brown areas in the canopy of the shrubbery. Typically voles girdle trees and saplings at the ground line. Vole damage JuniperClose inspection of the damage will reveal paired grooves left by their chisel-like teeth. The grooves will be about 1/16 inch wide. Girdling completely around the tree trunk will kill the tree, so any indication of above- ground damage is cause for instituting a control program.

Currently, trapping or rodenticides are the only ways to control vole populations in home or institutional landscapes and orchards. Careful and routine inspections will reveal areas of vole activities. Trapping or rodenticides should be applied only in those areas.