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What's bugging you? April 10, 2019

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Rather than bagging your leaves, consider composting.

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.

• Rake up all remaining leaves as they are a source of future diseases that overwintered in your garden spaces.

• Deadhead any perennials if not done last fall.

• Divide and transplant perennials or share your abundance with others. Wait later for bulbs and rhizomes such as iris.

• Renew wood mulches in your garden spaces.

• Prune summer flowering shrubs, but not spring blooming ones like forsythia and lilacs.

• Prune other non-flowering shrubs, especially those near walkways. Don't let shrubs overpower your landscape.

• Prune dead branches (ones not showing swelling buds) but also live branches if they cross or otherwise grow errantly.

• Prune fruit trees before bud break. Otherwise you could drastically reduce their fruitfulness this year. Open up their branching structure to let in more sunlight and increase fruit load.

• Weed control. Make sure you either use a herbicide or hand pull annual weeds that bloom early to prevent adding to the undesirable seed bank.

• Stop feeding seed-loving birds, but keep an eye out for early arriving hummingbirds.

• Don't put off watering too long just because we had a great winter precipitation year. This is especially true for cool season lawns and shallow rooted plants.

• If you have aspens and had problems with leaf diseases last year, consider spraying your trees two to three times on a weekly schedule, beginning when leaves just start peeking out. Use a fungicide containing chlorothalonil, such as Ortho Disease B Gon®. Marssonina blight is often the culprit.

• Repair any landscape damage due to deer browsing, antler rubbing on trampled areas they used as paths.

• Think future veggies by either planting hardy ones like some lettuce varieties, onions, and maybe potatoes. Otherwise start seed indoors for later planting when it warms up a bit more.

• And last but not least, enjoy yourself. This should be a labor of love.

Jim Leser retired to Cedaredge in 2007 after a career with Texas A&M University Extension in entomology. He is a member of the Cedaredge Tree Board and a Colorado Master Gardener.

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