May 2008 Newsletter
The adage of April showers brings May flowers is not going to be the case this year. Maybe May will provide some much needed moisture. Precipitation levels did not improve in April. The total amount of moisture from October 1st 2007 to April 30th 2008 is only 4.23” in the Denver metro area. At a average of .70” each month we are at a point of impending stress in the trees around our area.
Many people will be turning on irrigation systems soon. Be sure to walk around your property when your system is running to ensure that proper coverage is attained. Look for leaks, broken sprinkler heads, and improperly directed heads. All of these things can quickly affect an otherwise healthy tree. As new tissue emerges on trees there is an increased need for water. When the water is lacking, trees will exhibit signs of stress. Undersized leaves, poor color, and low leaf density are all a result of drought conditions when tissue is expanding.
Mt. High Tree, Lawn & Landscape can help you this spring with supplemental watering to the focal plants around your property. The use of soil conditioners like yuccah and Revive products allows us to improve the moisture retention of the soil at the same time.
People often ask me when is the best time to prune trees and shrubs. Proper timing depends a great deal on three main factors.
Tree species is very important when considering pruning. Certain trees, such as Elms, tend to produce large amounts of water sprouts(also known as sucker growth) when the canopy is thinned in the summer. Fall pruning can help to reduce this response in various trees.
One of most common reasons to be mindful of when to prune trees is to reduce the spread of aggressive pathogens. Fireblight is a bacteria that affects many trees in the Prunus genus. Crabapples, Apples and Pears rank among the most easily infected trees. Pruning tools used during the growing season are very effective in further spreading the disease. Winter is the ideal time for this pruning because the tree is relatively dormant along with the disease and spreading the disease is not as prevalent.
Finallly, the goal of the pruning will influence the timing of the operation. Plants such as Lilacs are a staple of the spring. The fragrance has made its way to perfumes, candles, and even scented envelopes. To aid in a greater production of the flowers you must be careful not to prune late in the season. A late summer or fall pruning will remove many of the flower buds that have been formed. Once the flower buds are removed there will not be enough time for the tree to produce new flowers for the following spring. The ideal timing for pruning a Lilac is shortly after the flowers have died in the late spring.
Insects may not be considered intelligent creatures, but they are dependable. Insects like leafhoppers and psyllids will appear when the time is right. You can count on seeing these insects (if you look really hard) when the trees are at the right stage, when the sunlight increase, and when the temperatures tell them it is safe. Looking for the cues can help to protect your plant material from many damaging pests. Here at Mt. High Tree, Lawn & Landscape we track the chronological appearance of many insects and diseases.
Tracking the progress and events on your property will help to ensure the health of your plants. A good idea is to develop a simple spread sheet that will track the date when your various trees and shrubs flower, leaf-out, drop leaves, develop fruit, and the first sighting of specific insects and their life cycle stage. Pictures always help and with the abundance of digital cameras these days it is easier and easier to document the happenings all around us.
Let us know if you would like any help in creating a record keeping program for your property.
MAY LAWN CARE
Lawns have come out of dormancy and are greening up The most common problems we see on lawns in spring is that there has been a lack of moisture over the winter and early spring. A lawn that has been drought stricken can lead to insect and weed pressure, disease and in some cases even death.
FOLLOW THESE TIPS TO A HEALTHY, GREEN AND WEED FREE LAWN
· Make sure your sprinkler system is turned on and that all heads are aligned and operating properly. The most common problem with a lawn is that sprinklers are missing areas or not working at all. If you have a spot or area that is a grayish blue or brown it most probably is not receiving enough moisture. South and west facing areas will require more water due to the sun exposure. If they are sloped there will be a challenge to keep adequate moisture to these areas.
· Aeration will greatly improve a lawn if scheduled on a yearly basis. We recommend one time in spring and again in fall. Aeration allows water and fertilizer to get down to the root zone. It will help to reduce the thatch layer which blocks water, oxygen and fertilizer from penetrating to the root of the plant.
· Your first application of fertilizer should be scheduled or already completed. Under or over fertilization to a lawn can lead to an unhealthy lawn. Make sure you have a professional recommend the appropriate program for your lawn.
· Watering in the morning when the leaf blade can dry quickly is recommended
· Over seeding may be beneficial for areas in your lawn that are thin or suffer with damaged or bare spots. A perennial rye and bluegrass seed mix is recommended. Seeding can be performed in spring or fall. It may require both. Mountain High provides seeding services.
We are seeing lawns that have suffered from mite damage over the winter months. In spring these mite-damaged areas will not green up with the rest of the lawn. The damage occurs over the winter months when your lawn is not receiving moisture. Mites feed in areas where there is south and west exposure, around evergreen trees and along borders such as driveways and sidewalks where the heat reflects. If you have areas that are brown and straw like it could be mites. A winter mite program will protect your lawn from mites that can cause devastating damage leading to costly repairs. Winter watering is critical for your lawn and will reduce the risk of mites invading your lawn. For most homeowners the damage is not noticeable until your lawn starts to come out of dormancy and it is then too late for the lawn to recover.