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. But why then are we still hitting temperatures in the high 80s and even a 90°F as I write this column?
I don't know about you but I am ready for fall and the lower temperatures and less water demands of our gardens that come with this season. It's been a tough year with higher than usual temperatures and for some of us, mandatory water restrictions, meaning, use more water and you will pay. If you have been keeping track of how much water you can cut back on and still have a healthy garden, then all was not lost.
You will have an opportunity at this year's Applefest event in Cedaredge to visit with Cedaredge Tree Board members and Colorado Master Gardeners. We are partnering again with a booth on Main Street near the Town Hall. This event takes place the first weekend in October.
We will have CSU publications on various gardening topics, Arbor Day Foundation pens as giveaways for those that dare test their knowledge on the weed identification board, candy for the kids and a drawing for a free yard visit from a Colorado Master Gardener. Four of these will be given out during the two-day event. This is a $25 value and it gives you an opportunity to use an expert gardener for up to one hour. The visit certificates are good in Montrose, Mesa and Delta counties.
But what is really special about our booth is that you can chat with a gardening expert on your various problems and successes. We do like to visit with other gardeners, so stop by our booth and see what we can do for you to make your garden or landscape that much better.
With fall approaching, don't forget to do a little leaf peeping on Grand Mesa and other areas where there is aspen and cottonwood gold. This year's color could peak at least a week earlier because of the drought. Also don't forget your routine gardening chores which include watering less often but at least monthly for your precious trees and shrubs. Your lawn could stand a drink or two during the winter as well.
I am all for fall garden cleanup but I usually cut back my perennials in the spring. Their seed heads provide winter interest. Gather up all those leaves under trees that may act as a host to carry over any diseases you might have on your trees. But as fall unwinds in our yards, now is the time to sit out on your patio or porch and enjoy cooler weather and the visual fruits of your garden labors.
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.