Monday, July 27, 2015

Is this happening to your trees?

Photos by Linda Langelo, CSU Horticulture Program Associate
The condition in the above pictures is an iron deficiency.  Along with the iron a leaf scorch is sure to follow.  There are many reasons for an iron deficiency among which is compacted soil, soil that is too wet or too dry.  If  the pH of the soil where the tree is planted ranges above 7.0 into 7.2 and 7.5, then this condition begins.  Take a soil test before you decide which type of tree you can plant in your landscape.  Along with crabapples, maple trees are also very susceptible to iron deficiency.  Without adequate iron, the tree cannot complete the photosynthesis cycle.  So the tree ends up not getting a good supply of sugars and starches.  Applying chelated iron is helpful. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015


Pictures by Linda Langelo

Aspens that are planted on the eastern plains of Colorado do not usually live very long.  They do not do well with the drought and the extreme weather on the plains.  But this aspen has been around for almost 50 years.  It is in good health.  Not far from where this tree exists a small grove of younger trees.  It is amazing to see what some trees can live through over the years.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Judge or Be Judged

Picture by Linda Langelo
Sometime around January when you are in your recliner looking through all those new seed catalogues you start planning what you want to grow.  You see all those wonderful new plants, but you don't have enough room in your yard to plant them.  No one is thinking about fair or what to grow to exhibit.  But the really experienced exhibitors do along with the professional exhibitors who might professionally exhibit roses, dahlias, iris or some other flower.  It is not a bad idea while still rustling through those catalogues to decide what you might want to exhibit for fair. While you are ordering add extra to your list of what you are going to grow to exhibit for fair.  You order extra because what if one plant gets a disease or something else happens to it.  Once you have made your plant list, you might want to stop and plan the appropriate locations for everything in your landscape thinking about sun, water, soil, exposure and fertilizer requirements.

A good grower or gardener will have a great deal of good material to exhibit because of course you plan for hail, drought, wind and flooding, right?  So its fair time.  Once you have a fair book do the following to make fair seamless: 
  1. Read the rules carefully.
  2. Decide what you want to exhibit   (Remember you have already done this in your recliner in January.) 
  3. Follow the rules.  If your entry calls for 3 miniature marigolds, do not enter six.  This will get you disqualified. Naturally pick extras in case something happens along the way to fair.
  4. If possible, prepare the entries the night before or the day of your exhibiting. 
  5. Pack and carry all the entries you wish to exhibit that preserves the freshness of your flowers. 
  6. Be on time and have fun.
  7. If you are permitted, be present when your entries are being judged.  You can learn alot.  Sometimes, the most successful exhibitors are those who have the most experience. 

Here are some tips for selecting the best flowers to show:

1) your flower should be free of insects.
2) your flower should be free of disease.
3) your flower should not be malformed.
4) your flower should be free of mechanical damage and soil. 

The idea is to bring in foliage and flowers in their prime condition.  Do not polish any of your specimens.  In order to understand what is meant by prime condition you need to familiarize yourself with the flower(s) you wish to exhibit.  Know what is typical of the flowers form, maturity and color.  Many exhibitors pick coneflowers which are past their prime with slightly faded flower petals that are pointing downward to the ground.  When wanting to bring three flowers of a particular specimen, they must be at the same maturity, as close as possible to the same true color of the flower for that specimen and all three the same size or very close. 

It is always best to grow a lot of one specimen so that when fair time comes you have a lot to chose to fit the requirements.  Here is yet another list to keep in mind about how your flower(s) will be judged as you are picking your flower(s):

1) Form: Uniformity, Maturity and Shape.
2) Stem and Foliage: Strength and Straightness
3) Color: Intensity and Clarity
4) Size: Typical to Variety
5) Condition: Free from Blemishes. 

You might think this is a lot to remember, but I am confident you can do it.  If you have any questions, you can always call your local Horticultural Extension Agent.  If you are really interested in exhibiting further, there are plant societies for almost every flower on the market.  Many are professionally judged such as roses, daylilies and irises. These plant societies have guidelines on how those specific specimens are judged.