Like the four horsemen of the apocalypse, four pests of our native pinyon trees are on the move. Three beetles and a moth have launched their attack on our pinyon trees in the Delta County and surrounding area.
They're back! The first wave of invading elm seed bugs is upon us. Both adults and immatures have begun their advances on our houses. While their diet consists of elm seeds, their threat is as a nuisance home invader.
This spring I looked out my window and to my dismay I noticed many brown terminals on one of my two pinyon trees. Now this might not sound like a big deal to you but remember, I am an entomologist and insects are never supposed to get the upper hand over me.
One of the events I look forward to each spring is the arrival of the first hummingbirds. My first sighting came April 15.
What a difference year makes! Last year we prayed for rain that never came. This year is quite the opposite. Abundant winter snows and spring rains have resulted in a profusion of weeds.
When you think of a forest or woods you probably picture a natural forest of trees such as found in our National Forests. But there is also a planting of trees we would refer to as an urban forest.
As your garden starts waking up from its long winter slumber, there are a number of things you need to do to make your garden presentable. Here is a list of garden chores you need to be checking off to insure your landscape gets off to its best start.
When I was growing up I was lucky to live next to the woods and in a rural dairy community. My friends and I loved the outdoors and spent many an hour away from home with the blessing of our parents.
Have you ever considered involving your children in the planning and design of your garden spaces? Well, you should.
Have you ever wondered where and how insects survive our cold winters and then magically appear the following spring or early summer?
Insects have a variety of methods for surviving the coldness of winter.
Did you ever wonder where insects come from? And did you ever question how insects grow up? Like us, most start out as an egg but from that point on boy are they different!
Did you ever wonder where the tradition of an indoor decorated Christmas tree came from? There have been many ideas put forth but I'll limit this discussion to just a very few.
This column concludes my three part series on "Tree-ology" or, the way trees work and what we can do to help them. And by the way, what we have been discussing works mostly for shrubs and other plants.
Last time I started a three-part series on 'Tree-ology,' discussing how trees grow and how that might influence our management of them. Roots were the first part of this puzzle. Now we move up to the trunk and branches.
Trees are the foundations of any landscape plan. In fact, most experts recommend that trees should be the first landscape element planted.
A new nuisance pest has been added to our list in western Colorado, the elm seed bug. Native to Europe and the Mediterranean region, it was first detected in the U.S. in 2012.
Nothing like a few days of rain to help us forget how dry and hot our summer was this year. My rain gauge has collected over 2.5 inches in the first ten days of October.
The signs of an early fall are beginning to show up across the Surface Creek Valley. Cottonwood leaves beginning to turn yellow, rabbitbrush in full glorious bloom and cooler nighttime temperatures are some of these signals of what is to come.
Have you ever noticed that one patch of grass in your garden that's inexplicably dry or burned? Ever wondered how it got there? Here's a hint.
Colorado's semi-arid climate has historically been punctuated with multi-year droughts, reminding us of the value of plentiful water supplies. Fortunately, most of our water supply is renewed annually as snowpack in the Rockies. But not this year.
Our drought has continued with generally hot, dry days. I did receive seven tenths of an inch of rain the last week of July but this storm was spotty at best. We have entered the monsoon season with expected increased chances of rain.
It is time for me to revert back to my roots and talk about interesting arthropods. Today I will cover the common scutigera, a unique looking house centipede.
Three months ago I gave information on our current drought and its impact on our local landscapes. This week I'll broaden my discussion with more tips for conserving our precious water without losing our gardens.
A large part of Plant Health Care (PHC) is IPM, or Integrated Pest Management. What does this entail?
Plant Health Care (PHC) is a more preventative, holistic, and intelligent approach to managing our landscapes and garden plants. I covered the basics of PHC in my last column and continue this discussion today.
You've probably heard of IPM or Integrated Pest Management. But what about an even more holistic approach? Try PHC or Plant Health Care.
Spring has sprung with many plants from woody perennials to trees leafing out. It is past time to get out in your garden and see what is going on.
If I were to ask you which common western Colorado tree is cursed more than any other, what would you say? Russian olive? Salt cedar? Globe willow? What about cottonwoods?
There is a lot of talk about the drought we are experiencing in Colorado. But is this really a drought? I guess it all depends on your perspective or situation.
Today let's talk about trees. Not just any trees, but the smaller deciduous ones that have flowers and maybe even some colorful fruit and leaves that have interesting fall color.
I like to refer to these trees as specimen trees as they add accents to the landscape and can often provide a view block.
In this week's column I am going to give you a preview of some of the creepy crawler garden dwellers I will be talking about at the March 16 meeting of the Plant and Dig Garden Club. If you are interested in more information, I am sure they would love to have you attend.
Our gardens have for the most part experienced spring-like weather through mid-February. Yet spring is still almost five weeks away! Warmer than usual temperatures and lack of winter precipitation are posing real issues for our landscape.
Have you ever wondered about the mistletoe you see growing on trees in our area? What about the mistletoe hanging in doorways during the holiday season?
Do you sometimes have spiders or other creepy crawlers in your house? Could any of these house pests be the result of your landscape? The answer to these two questions is yes.
Planting the right tree in the right place is extremely important. Unfortunately, many people do not give this enough thought and have regrets years after planting.
How many of you have looked wistfully at the beautiful orchids at City Market? I have and I finally purchased one, a white moth orchid from the genus, Phalaenopsis.
It looks like we are finally heading into early winter with a drop of daily high temperatures. But there is still time to finish up your fall chores, especially since we have been moving through a warmer and drier November.
So far I have been addressing questions I think you might have and might even "bug" you in your gardens. But today in a twist I am going to address one that "bugs" me a lot.
Another bee beastie that can be observed in our gardens are members of the genus, Bombus, or bumblebees. I like to refer to these as the teddy bears of the insect world as they are plump and furry.
There are many bees and wasps that make their homes as beasties in our gardens. Yellowjackets are one of the few of the very large number of wasp species in western Colorado that live a social life.
Last time I discussed milkweed plants, more specifically the western whorled milkweed. This week I thought I would cover two beasties in the garden that use milkweed plants as hosts, both flowers as adults and leaves as caterpillars. These are the monarch and queen butterflies.
Milkweed is a common plant in our rural landscapes. Most folks think of the common milkweed and showy milkweed when they picture this plant.
Leapin' lizards! Am I really going to include a reptile in my beasties series? You bet I am. The most interesting, to my mind, is the plateau striped whiptail (Aspidoscelis velox). This lizard is truly an Amazon!
Continuing with my new series on "Beasties in the Garden," I am going to discuss a frequent resident of our gardens that most of you probably wish never set up housekeeping in your yard. I am talking about the black widow spider.
This is my first official installment of a new series, "Beasties in The Garden." I am going to lay the foundation for a butterfly garden and then transition to my first winged representative.
This week's weed is the last of my series on "The Ten Most Unwanted Weeds in the Garden." At least these were my top 10 weeds for my yard. There are many more weed candidates left and I will probably cover some of them over the next several months.
Have you ever wondered what makes a weed a weed? It is often all in the eye of the beholder. Or it could be the old realtor saying: location, location, location.
When was the last time you walked through your garden and noticed all the activity going on before your nose? I'm not talking about the fragrance of your flowers. What about all the beasties in your garden?
We are entering the home stretch of our weed series, "The Ten Most Unwanted Weeds." Only three are left but I might cover a few more if it strikes my fancy.
Like most of you, I have been very busy cleaning up my garden spaces. One of the perennials that requires old stems to be cut back in the spring are those in the genus Agastache.
Another weed with a pretty flower is henbit. But you might need a magnifying lens to fully appreciate these tiny flowers.
Have you ever taken a big bite out of a crisp apple only to find a half wiggling worm sticking out of the remaining apple? If so, you have been the recipient of a codling moth infested apple, the bane of all growers of apples, pears and even crabapples.
My records show that I have already covered five of the 10 most unwanted weeds in the garden series. The next one is the redstem filaree, a class "C" noxious weed in Colorado.
Do you think spring is close at hand? You might if you only looked at recent temperatures and not the calendar. As I write this, Denver broke records with a reading of 80°F while we hit highs of upper 60s to lower 70s!
We happen to live in an area that is quite favorable for growing many kinds of fruit trees. As a result, there are acres upon acres of commercial production of mainly apples and peaches, but also pears, apricots and cherries.
Field bindweed. A pretty flower or a gardener's nightmare? My guess is that you would align with the latter view rather than the former.
The new year is upon us and it is time that we resolve to use trees more wisely and give them the care they deserve. I am both a member of the Cedaredge Tree Board and a Colorado Master Gardener.
I remember when I first moved to my new place in Cedaredge that I greatly appreciated the white flowering plants blanketing a slope on my property. Only after I was chastised by a neighbor for my insistence to perpetuate this beautiful sight did I come to realize these plants were in fact the much hated weed, whitetop.
With winter upon us, most gardeners are through with their landscape chores and may be found curled up by a warm fire reading a pertinent book and daydreaming about the spring to come. But our winter landscapes needn't be a boring time in the garden; views of gardens can -- and should -- still be appreciated from indoors.
Cheatgrass. This is one invader weed that is hated by homeowners and ranchers alike.
Who among you have never experienced a flat bicycle tire from a thorny seed? Or tracked these same burrs in on the soles of your shoes? Or had to extract them from the paws of your dog?
Earlier this month, several Delta County Master Gardeners, myself included, spent the morning touring the insectary in Palisade. While I had intended to cover the second weed on the list of "10 most unwanted garden weeds" this week, a discussion about our tour was too good to pass up.
They say that weeds are plants growing where we don't want them to grow. This can be so true of our first weed the dandelion.
Colorado State University Tri-River Area Extension is inviting the public to join with the Tri River Master Gardeners for the 19th annual plant sale and tree auction Saturday, Oct. 8. Activities will be located at the Colorado State University Tri River Extension Office at 2775 Highway 50, Grand Junction.
I just got back from a three-week vacation to the East Coast. While traveling I did send in a column introducing a new weed series I plan to start. But this will be my first column since returning home.
The one thing we can all agree on is that weeds are the bane of every gardener. I promised in an earlier column that I would do a series on weeds, notably the 10 most unwanted weeds.
Having spent much of my early childhood growing up in the northeast, I have a keen appreciation of the fall glory of maple trees, especially sugar maples. We even had a term for trips where we enjoyed fall color while driving down country roads. This term was leaf peeping.
What's in a name you might ask? When naming plants using scientific nomenclature, a lot of Latin is thrown around.
We are entering the dog days of summer where high temperatures hold steady in the 90s to 100s and the "snow" from female cottonwoods takes to the wind to settle on the ground and in my garage. With these higher temperatures you will also begin to hear cicadas sing.
Weeds seem to be my bane this year. Not only have I failed to get on top of my weeding chores but recent rains will surely add more to my misery. Maybe you find yourself in the same boat.
We have both black walnut trees as well as several varieties of English walnut trees in Delta County and the surrounding area. Have you ever noticed that in some years the husk that surrounds the walnut has black blotches (see picture)?
I am back after suffering through knee replacement surgery and physical therapy. Not that I am fully recovered nor without pain.
I recently was given a question pertaining to early season grasshopper control. So where do all the little grasshoppers come from this time of year?
We all know the benefits of planting trees. Their number one benefit is to provide shade and beauty to our landscapes.
Have you made any New Year's resolutions for 2016? How is that going for you? Have you ever completed all your resolutions? To avoid embarrassing failure I just resolve to do better than last year.
You're late! You're late for a very important date. I'm referring to the upcoming 2016 Colorado Master Gardener Training Program. This program is an 11-week course starting Jan. 13, held in Grand Junction.
Winter appears to be settling in on us as average daily temperatures are decreasing and the first snows have fallen. But before we forget the beautiful fall color display of autumn leaves we so enjoyed leading up to this winter, wouldn't you like to know why and how leaves change color?
Fall is upon us and winter can't be too far away. There are a number of garden chores that can be accomplished now and besides, the weather is warm and sunny.
I was going to discuss watering issues this week, but a house call about saving aspen trees has gotten me sidetracked. The new owners of a recently purchased house in Cedaredge wanted to know if the aspens in their yard could be saved. My answer was a qualified yes.
Cottonwood trees are ubiquitous to Colorado. For most folks it is the narrowleaf cottonwood that comes to mind when cottonwoods are mentioned.
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