Mountain High Tree, Lawn, and Landscape Co.  September ‘06




Winter Storms Are On Their Way


News of impending snow in the mountains is a prelude to the snows that will inevitably hit the metro area and once again cause damage to our trees and shrubs.  The good news is you can do something to help prevent or lessen the severity of the damage.  Tree pruning conducted with a focus on creating good branch attachment and tree structure encourages a healthy growth habit. 

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            Improving tree structure has several added benefits.  In the absence of significant storm damage trees are allowed to build their own natural resistance to insect attacks.  Several trees emit pheromones when they are injured by storm damage.  These pheromones actually act as an attractant of many deadly boring insects.  Improved tree structure also promotes optimum movement of material through the tree’s vascular system.  The improved flow adds greatly to the vigor and vitality of the tree, and increases the number of years you will enjoy the company of your tree. 


Broken Limb of African Sumac Hanging over the Main Trail




            If you are concerned about any of your trees and their structure don’t hesitate to contact one of our arborists who will be happy to check your trees for potential problems.  



Pines – Our Winter Shade Tree


As winter becomes a forethought in our mind we should also consider what trees will still be active during the otherwise “dormant” season.  Pine trees, or any conifer tree, have an advantage over deciduous tree that drop their leaves in the winter.  These trees can become active in the winter, and thus produce and store sugars.  Maintaining the health of Pine trees in the winter gives them a head start for the spring.

            The Giant Grey aphid is a major pest of the conifer tree in the fall.  These insects enjoy lower temperatures and will thrive as the night time temperatures fall into the 40’s and 50’s.  The damage of this aphid is seen as discolored needle tissue and premature needle drop.  Some yearly needle drop in normal this time of year.  Fall Needle Cast is the act of coniferous trees cycling their tissue and making room for new plant material.  This natural event appears as interior browning of needles that are between two and four years old, depending on the species of tree.


            Foliar treatments are sufficient to control the populations of Giant Grey aphids.  If you would like more information please contact one of our arborists.



Rainfall Update


            August gave us more natural precipitation than we are used to in Colorado.  In some areas of Denver we received as much as 3.4” of rainfall.  This brings us to almost 6.25” for the year.  We are currently 3 to 4” below or average.  Emphasis should remain on supplemental irrigation, especially on plants that have higher water requirements or in areas of construction or previous root damage.  Construction sites often lack irrigations systems and have heavily compacted soils due to equipment traffic. 


            We recommend deep root watering in the winter in order to prevent root loss due to dessication.  When roots die back in the winter they force the tree to exert energy in the spring to make up for the loss.   This energy puts the plant in an overall resource deficit, and thus stress the plant at a time when new growth is sensitive. 



Fall Clean Up


            Removing leaf matter in the fall provides several positives.  Leaf matter that had been infected with powdery mildew, fireblight, leaf spot, or any of the various foliar pathogens, will produce spores in the spring and infect new tissue.  Removing this material will help to sanitize the area.  Decreasing the amount of innoculum in an area will aid in keeping new infections low.  Maintaining good structure will also allow airflow to dry the excess moisture on the leaf surface that would otherwise promote infections.


 It’s The End of The Season


The cooler fall temperatures mean bluegrass lawns begin to repair damage from the long hot summer. Listed below are ways you can help your lawn.


  1. Keep your sprinklers going as long as possible. That keeps the grass actively working and repairing itself. Even when the grass goes dormant above ground, it will remain active below ground building and growing roots.
  2. Fall aeration will move more air and water into the soil aiding the growth of roots and new blades of grass. Over the winter, melting snow and rain will penetrate the soil more readily and keep the grass roots alive.
  3. The winter fertilization gives the turf what it needs to make it through the winter. It is the last nutrients the lawn will have for about 5 months so it’s important to have this service done.
  4. Winter water. This is something few people understand completely. It is important that every 3-4 weeks of no precipitation that you water to keep the roots alive. On southern slopes every 2-3 weeks of no moisture you should water. How? Pick a day when the temperature is above freezing, water early to allow it to get into the ground before the night temperatures drop. Don’t saturate your lawn, normal watering is fine and adequate. This will provide moisture to the root system and keep it alive until the spring.
  5. Don’t forget that if you have a question about your lawn, we can help. Call 303-232-0666 or email us at





When it is finally time to shut down the sprinkler system, we can help. Mountain High will blow out lines, check the system to make sure everything is ready for winter and for an easier start up in the spring. Call now to schedule!


Lastly, many people like to mow the grass really short in the fall. This isn’t a good idea. Mowing a little shorter is fine to keep it from laying down under the snow but “scalping” the lawn does more damage than good. Bottom line, mowing it to 2” in the fall instead of the normal 2 ½ -3” is fine but avoid going any shorter than that.