Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A Reason for Optimism After Hail

We stood and watched two-and-a-half-inch hail devastate the landscape around us within minutes. All efforts of the growing season gone.  Yet, in the aftermath, there is reason for optimism.  Most vegetables are resilient.  Take the local community garden for example, even the broad-leaved plants in our landscapes most affected can be resilient.  The silver lining is if 50 percent or more of the leaves remaining on the broad-leaved plants, they have the opportunity to produce food for the plant survive.  Broad-leaved plants such as daylilies can survive.  In fact, at various public places I've worked, we intentionally cut the daylilies back after they bloomed then watered fertilized them.  They produce a second bloom by late August and September.  I don't recommend this every season.  This is forcing a plant to bloom out of season and not the best cultural practice.

One other optimistic note after a severe storm, is if you have lots of native plants in your garden, it seems that they did better than any of the non-native herbaceous perennials, biennials and annuals. Amazingly, the native plants of the Plant Select Program fared the best in the Sedgwick County Courthouse Colorado, landscape.  These include:

  • Diascia integerrima 'P009S' Coral Canyon Twinspur
  • Penstemon x Mexicali 'P008S' Red Rocks Penstemon
  • Clematis scottii, Scotts Sugarbowls that faced the wind and hail head on came through with only a couple of seed heads pruned off the plant.
  • Fallugia paradoxa, Apache Plume
  • Ceroearpus intricatus, Littleleaf Mountain Mahogany
  • Ratibida columnifera, Prairie Coneflower
  • Nepeta "Pskite" PP 18,904 made it through with some tattered leaves as well.
  • Echinacea purpurea, Purple Coneflower also made it through with just a few leaves tattered.
There are a lot of other natives that would do well, these are just those we can testify to in the hail aftermath.  Natives do not need any fertilization.

There are many methods to heal what is wounded by storm damage; I would suggest the following:

Herbaceous perennials that had prolific flower stalks: prune those back to good growth if there are any good leaves left on the stalks.  If there are basal leaves or a rosette at the base of the plant, just prune the stalks to just above the basal leaves or rosette.  If the rosette or basal leaves are damaged give a light fertilization.  This will give plants further energy for growing new leaves. 

Annuals: you may just have to call it quits, especially if nothing grows back in a week.  Examine them to see if there is anything left to grow and fertilize.  Sometimes with petunias, snapdragons and violas, you may find that they get severely damaged, yet there is still a mass of leaves to grow again and flower.  With the petunias, pruning will be helpful.  Other annuals such as zinnias can be pruned.  There is still enough time in the season.  I am recommending to lightly fertilize annuals once a week.  On that note, too much nitrogen in the soil increases the mineral salt content.  Excessive salt can dehydrate the plant.  The symptoms would be burning or yellowing of the leaf margins.  The best thing to do is water and wash the excess nitrogen in the soil.  Nitrogen moves quickly through the soil.  Excess nitrogen will slow root development.

Biennials: enjoy what is left because if they are flowering this will be the last year you will see them.  You will need to start over next season.

Shrubs: prune out what is damaged and during the very hot days of summer give them a deep root watering.  The timing for pruning won't be perfect for some shrubs and you may lose next year's flower buds.

Trees: prune out what is damaged and during hot dry periods such as an extended drought give them an extra deep root watering, but do not fertilize them.  It makes sense to remove the branches that are hanging first and make nice clean cuts.  Then examine the tree for any severe hail damage and prune properly.  Even if your tree looks very thin, give the tree time, it will grow new leaves.

Fruit trees: remove the damaged fruit.  The damaged fruit will attract pests.  Again, look to see if there are any hanging branches and other severely damaged hail wounds on limbs that might not heal quickly.  Open wounds are an easy entry for pests and diseases for trees and shrubs.

In answer to the question, "a reason for optimism after hail?"  We have witnessed the wounds of severe hail, now we can apply optimism towards what remains on the landscape and heal.  It is hard work, and that, in part, is what gardeners do!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Pinyon Needle Scale

Photo Credit: Donna Davis, CSU Forester - Egg Mass on Pinyon

Out here on the eastern plains of Colorado, I see this type of scale on pinyons less often than pine needle scale which also is attracted to Colorado Blue Spruce and many other pines. 

Photo Credit: Donna Davis

Pinyon needle scale attach to the needles.  This is how it overwinters as seen in the next photo.  Winter is done and they are out. 

Photo Credit: Donna Davis

Tri State Horticulture Symposium

Photo Credit: Linda Langelo, CSU Horticulture Program Associate

On both April 4 and April 5, we had an attendance of 21 and 20.  The picture above shows Dori Seamans from the NRCS and a beekeeper taking around a section of a traditional hive as both she and Shannon Bowling, Wildlife Biologist spoke about a newer hive called Flow Hive.  Flow Hive allows the honey to flow from a tap into jars without having to remove any part of the hive or smoke the bees.  It is less labor intensive.  The Flow Hive is being trialed in the Burlington Community Garden. 

Photo Credit: CMG Robin Vincent

In the picture above, CSU Entomologist Whitney Cranshaw covering Bugs and More Bugs.  People enjoyed learning about the role of antennae play for insects which is sensing their environment.   As Whitney stated, "Where do people get Spider sense.  Spiders have no sense.  They have no antennae."  Whitney used humor throughout his presentation to help folks become aware of important information about different insects. 

Photo Credit, CMG Robin

We invited several vendors to attend and show off their products.  We had Parkhill Gardens a local greenhouse and nursery.  We had Robin Schneider, a landscape designer from Wray with a design business titled, "The Garden Edge."   We had Evergreen Landscapes operated by Mark and Kristi Dix located in Yuma.  Next year, we hope to have more vendors attending. 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Whitney Cranshaw Comes to Yuma

For our Tri-State Horticulture Symposium,  on April 5, Whitney Cranshaw our Colorado State University Extension Entomology Specialist is talking on Bugs, Bugs and More Bugs.  He is also planning on doing a one hour focus on other pollinators in our gardens which keep our gardens ecosystems balanced. 

Whitney will answer any questions on insects.  But for hot topics, he plans to talk about grubs, spider mites and aphids.  Three relentless pests that plague our gardens. 

April 4th, don't miss Invasive Weeds, by Brian Talamantes, CSU Weed Science and Agronomy Agent.  He is talking on the plants which escaped from our gardens and into the wild. 

Then to enhance Whitney's hour on other garden pollinators, Dori Seamans, NRCS and Beekeeper, and Shannon Bowling, Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist will focus on Habitats for Pollinators including habitats for bees.

Meet the Vendors over lunch.  Local vendors have been invited to display their plant materials and show off their business. 

Lastly, Best Practices for Caring for our Trees, by Boyd Lebeda, CSU Forest Service will talk on the does and don'ts to caring for our trees.  Our prized resources.

Don't miss the deadline March 28, 2016.  Get registered now to be able to be guaranteed a lunch included in the cost which is $30 for one day/individual or $45/person covers both days.  Late fee is $50 at the door. 

European Elm Scale

The small oval white "dots" on the bark are scale.  In fact they are white cocoons from which the males will emerge and begin to mate with the females.  The time is near for mating in late April and May.  They are fuzzy or hairy.  These are called European Elm Scale.  They are found on elm trees throughout the United States. 
Trees exhibit symptoms of premature leaf yellowing and leaf drop.  Heavy infestations weaken branches.  Other problems are honeydew production.  The female populations can be heaviest in late June and early July.  The eggs hatch within the female's body, and the crawlers emerge over several weeks.  The nymphs will crawl onto the underside of leaves and position themselves by main veins.
Be sure to watch for the premature leaf yellowing and leaf drop in July and early August.  This could be among the possibilities.

Freeze and Borer Damage on Hackberry Trees

Photo Credit: Donna Davis, CSU Forest Service
This is damage done by woodborers and quite possibly freeze damage. Most of the time we think that the damage was done by a squirrel who ripped the bark away. In this case with the trunk riddled with holes, Red-headed Ash borers and/or Flatheaded Appletree borers are responsible along with freeze damage.  These are two common borers for our area that would be attracted to Hackberry trees. There are visible cracks in the trunk and no active tissue for the bark to stay connected to the tree.  These cracks are a sign of the freeze damage not always visible on the outer surface of the bark.

Photo Credit: Donna Davis, CSU Forest Service

Monday, February 22, 2016

CSU/USDA Grant Writing Workshop

A Farmers Market, Local Food Promotion and USDA Grant Workshop

When and Where: Monday, March 21, 2016
Time: 12:00-4:30 pm
Cost: $15- includes lunch
CSU Extension, Akron, Washington County
181 Birch Avenue
Akron, CO 80720

Who: Any farmers, ranchers, food producers, food and farming organization members or broader community members interested in learning about and applying for a variety of food system grants.

Why: Dawn Thilmany and Becca Jablonski, CSU Extension, will share their experience and insights on a wide range of funding programs and will present information, tips and best practices, as well as providing direct technical assistance to help you get started!

What Next? Those who RSVP by March 16th will be guaranteed lunch and receive homework that they can bring to jump start their grant writing and get immediate feedback from those with experience in this area. Space is limited so make sure to rsvp today.

Please contact Linda Langelo at 970-474-3479 for questions and to register for this workshop.
This program is a collaboration between the CSU Extension of the Land Grant University System and Colorado Building Farmers, funded by a number of USDA agencies including USDA NIFA.

Monday, January 25, 2016

 Photo Credit: Dennis Kaan, Area Director of Golden Plains Extension
This Linden tree had almost half of the trunk's bark removed from a someone who visited the city park in Akron, Colorado four years ago.  The tree was "skinned" from the first branch to the base of the trunk.  This is almost an area of between 3-4 feet in length.  
Each season this tree has slowly begun to grow over the open wound.  Last summer there were no dead branches nor any signs of dieback.  This tree demonstrates the capacity of trees to overcome adversity.  The tree was given supplemental watering during the drought years and every season the lawn is fertilized which adds some fertilization for the tree especially in the way of nitrogen.  Nitrogen moves quickly through the soil because it is very soluble.  But the Potassium and phosphorus are not readily soluble in that lawn fertilizer.  Potassium has a high positive charge and bonds strongly with negatively charged elements in the soil.  Phosphorus has a negative charge and reacts strongly with other soil elements such as iron, aluminum and calcium with positive charges and moves only a few inches through the soil.
With the small amounts of nutrients from the lawn fertilizer, these will still be absorbed by the tree and be of some benefit.  It is amazing what one tree or plant will do to survive over another. 

Tri-State Horticulture Symposium

Tri State Horticulture Symposium

Monday, April 4 & Tuesday April 5, 2016

Yuma County Fairgrounds

At the Concession Building

410 West Hoag Road

Yuma, Colorado

Thompson Park, Julesburg, CO. Photo Credit: CSU Extension, Linda Langelo, Horticulture Program Associate

 Whether it is the year of the begonia or the year of the delphinium, the next gardening season is around the corner to challenge even the most experienced gardeners.  Come and be educated on some of the latest gardening issues.

Topics and Speakers on April 4, 2016:

Bugs, Bugs and More Bugs

By Whitney Cranshaw, CSU Entomology Specialist



Topics and Speakers on April 5, 2016

Invasive Weeds

By Brian Talamantes, CSU Weeds Science & Agronomy,



Habitats for Pollinators

By Dori Seamans, NCRS/Beekeeper, Burlington, CO. &

Shannon Bowling, Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist


LUNCH & Meet the vendors



Continue Meeting the Vendors – 1:00-1:30

A native grass exhibit will be on display. 

Best Practices for Caring for our Trees

By Boyd Lebeda, CSU Forest Service


Contact: Sedgwick County Extension at (970)474-3479 for further details and to register by Monday, March 28, 2016


Cost $30 includes lunch for one day either April 4 or 5, late registration or at the door $40. Registration for both days is $45 while late registration for both days or at the door is $50.  Sponsored by Colorado State University

Friday, January 22, 2016

Common Tree Planting Errors

These pictures demonstrate what not to do.  A picture is worth a thousand words. 

  • The first picture is the end result of ponderosa pines about 40 years old that succumbed to girdling roots left around the base of the tree. This tree was buried slightly deeper than it should have been.  A strong wind of 50 miles an hour pushed this tree over.
  • In the second picture it shows the root ball in the planting hole with burlap and twine still enclosed in the wire basket.  Both the burlap and wire basket need to have the top third removed to allow the roots to spread.  Roots generally go out and slightly up toward ground level.  In some cases, Maples and Colorado Blue Spruce are shallow rooted trees. 

  • What causes burlap not to decompose quickly?  Burlap does not decompose quickly here in many locations on the eastern plains of Colorado because of improper water levels in the soil, too high or too low pH, lack of proper oxygen, lack of available nitrogen, higher levels of aluminum or manganese.  In turn the microbes, particularly bacteria are responsible for decomposition is lessened due to the stress placed on them by the poor environment of our soils. 
  • There are other living organisms in our soils besides bacteria in the following descending order:        
  1. another group of bacteria called actinomycetes providing valuable antibiotics,
  2. fungi provide soil stability with their threadlike filament structures,
  3. algae and cyanobacteria are photosynthetic microbes which can add small amounts of carbon to soil and
  4. protozoa which make nutrients available by mineralizing them for plants and animals.
  • Other than those mentioned above, there are more soil animals such as nematodes, microarthropods such as mites and springtails and larger animals such as earthworms and burrowing insects like dung beetles.