August 2008 email newsletter

Setting Records

The buzz all through June and July was the possibility of setting records for the driest summer in years. A dubious record, but a record nonetheless. With the extreme dry conditions in mine, we must not forget to adjust our supplemental watering accordingly. The adjustments must include the volume of water used, the frequency of the water, and even the timing of the watering. An early morning watering is best to terms of getting the most efficiency out of your efforts, and helps to reduce the possibility of disease outbreaks.

It is always helpful to attain an accurate measurement of the conditions to help influence your supplemental watering decisions. According to the data collected, we have received an average natural precipitation of .64” per month since September 1st, 2007. This means in the past eleven months a total of 7.05” of rain has fallen in the Denver area. Our plants are suffering, our lawns are stressed, and there is no relief in sight as we enter the month of August.

I cannot stress enough the importance of supplementing the natural precipitation for your plant material. Without serious efforts directed at the specific needs of your plants we will, no doubt, be looking at a tremendous number of dead or dying plants before the summer is over. Our Arborists at Mountain High are always available to help you determine the appropriate level of attention your plants need. Please don’t hesitate to call us.

It is also important to check your irrigation system frequently. Many drip systems are great because they are very efficient, but can become clogged from migrating soil particles. Paying special attention to the regulations of your city is also very important. As the lack of precipitation continues, the various cities will impose watering restrictions. Make certain you are adhering to the rules and regulations of your area in order to keep yourself out of trouble. Deep root watering services are available from Mountain High, and do not fall under any city restrictions.

Insect Update: Japanese Beetle

When I left Pennsylvania five years ago I thought I left many familiar friends behind. This summer, as I traveled around the area, I ran into one of these old “friends”. On the leaf of a small rose bush I noticed something metallic and shiny, about the size of a dime. As I bent down for a closer look I felt my heart sink. The shine belonged to the adult Japanese Beetle who was blissfully skeletonizing a leaf with the help of several of his friends. Unfortunately, the rose bush will not be alone in supporting this insect’s voracious appetite. The list of hosts for the Japanese Beetle is long and varied. Birch trees, Hornbeam, Roses, Lilacs, Maples, and even fruit trees. The list of herbaceous flowers that nourish the beetle is practically endless.

The larval stage of the insect lives in the soil. The adult stage is the best chance for identification. Please let us know if you see this “friend” so that we may develop a program to protect your landscape today.

Control methods available for managing a population of Japanese Beetle include various natural predator insects, natural chemical, and synthetic chemical controls. Planting of resistant species is difficult due to the undiscerning palate of the beetle.

Other insects that have made impacts this year in the Denver metro area: Elm leafminer, Elm leaf beetle, Mealybug, Kermes scale, and Woolly aphids.

Status Report: Oak Chlorosis

The dry conditions that began last fall have stressed many trees around our landscapes. Common damage is found in the heavy concentration of salts producing a typical salt toxicity in the leaf tissue of Oak trees. Scorched margins on leaves, undersized leaves, and tip dieback result from the continued influence of dry conditions in a soil that already contains higher levels of potassium, sodium, and magnesium salts. Oak trees all around town have shown significant stress this year. Before you make a premature decision to remove a stressed tree, it is helpful to explore the problem and look for alternative solutions.

The high pH of our soil also produces a situation that we commonly see in Colorado. Iron and Manganese deficiency are serious problems in plant material. The loss of chloroplasts that produce the green chlorophyll in leaf tissue create chronic stress in plants. Several Oak trees are naturally prone to chlorosis problems. When planted in our Colorado soils the loss of green leaf tissue becomes easy to recognize.

Fortunately, the variety of tools available to combat iron and manganese deficiency have become safer and more effective. Water-soluble formulations of these micronutrients are available as direct trunk injections. These injections are safe for the applicator and eliminate the problem of root uptake by introducing the nutrients directly into the vascular tissue. Results vary among species. Oak trees have shown excellent results through the use of trunk injections.

Proper timing is key to attaining the best results so please contact an Arborist today to determine if this service is appropriate for your trees. Our amazing canine Arborist is available to meet with you regarding this treatment. He is a little difficult to understand (he mumbles), but he is a very good Arborist.

Newly Planted Trees

Please stop reading this newsletter, go outside, and water your newly planted trees!!!

Trust me, your trees will thank you. Trees planted under a warranty must be properly maintained in order to comply with the terms of the warranty. Please give us a call at Mountain High to help you determine when and how much water is appropriate.


As we move into August our hot and dry conditions here in Colorado continue which in turn challenges us with keeping our lawns looking green, weed free and healthy. Lawns that suffer from drought stress risk having broadleaf weeds, grassy weeds, disease and insect pressures.

What are the signs of a drought stressed lawn?

Wilting appearance which will often show up in the same location

Footprints or lawn mower tracks that remain in the lawn at least one half hour after the mowing

The turf is turning a shade of blue-gray

Brown spots/areas

What you can do to prevent drought stress?

If you have a sprinkler system, make sure the heads are properly operating and are providing adequate coverage. Sometimes heads can get out of alignment, become clogged or even possibly be broken.

Water your lawn between the hours 10 p.m. – 6 a.m. this is the period of time when it is typically cooler, less windy and the humidity is higher so evaporation losses are less.

Water deeply and infrequently, which will stimulate root growth. Apply 1.5 inches of water per irrigation. Kentucky Bluegrass may require 2.5” of water or more per week during the heat of the summer. Lawns grown on more sandy soil require more frequent watering applications with less water per application than lawns grown on clay soil.

For brown spots/areas extra watering can be beneficial in recovery.

Mow with sharp mower blades set at a height between 2.5” – 3”. A lawn cut at 3” holds water longer than a lawn cut shorter.

Good cultural practices combined with a proper fertilization program are critical to the success of a healthy, green and weed free lawn.

What do you mean by good cultural practices?

Keep your mower blades sharp & mow at 2.5-3” height

Make sure you apply appropriate water to your lawn for the season

Have regular irrigation checks to ensure that your system is operating to give you optimal coverage

Make sure you are set up on a proper fertilization program

Aerate your lawn one to two times per year in Spring and/or Fall.

Consult with the professionals at Mountain High if you have any concerns about your lawn.