Friday, October 14, 2011

An application of fertilizer this time of year is recommended!

Fertilizing your lawn in the fall can increase root depth and create a more drought and disease/insect tolerant lawn next year.

The nitrogen used should be a quick-release nitrogen (N) fertilizer with a small amount or no phosphorus (P) or potassium (K). Ammonium sulfate (~21% N), ammonium nitrate (33%N),  and urea (~46% N) are ideal as they do not contain P or K. Slow-release products are not appropriate at this time of year. Two pound of N should be applied over every one-thousand square foot area of lawn. This recommendation means applying about ten pounds of ammonium sulfate, six pounds of ammonium nitrate, or four pounds of urea per one-thousand square feet of lawn. The goal is to provide a quick source of nitrogen to increase rooting depth and increase carbohydrate storage. This creates a healthier lawn more resistant to winter, spring, and summer disease and insect pests. If your lawn is a warm-season grass such as buffalograss you are out of luck as this procedure does not work on these grasses. If your lawn is Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, or perennial ryegrass applying two pounds of nitrogen at this time of year is what you should be doing.

Watering is critical to dissolve the fertilizer and move it into the roots of the grass. If your soil is the typical silt clay loam common to the valleys of western Colorado you should water your lawn for fifteen minutes if you have pop-up spray sprinklers, or fifty minutes if your sprinkler system has impact or rotary stream nozzles. Split these times in half with an hour between each watering to ensure the water penetrates the soil and doesn’t run off the lawn.

To learn more about this Late Season Fertilization program go to my web page at:

Friday, October 7, 2011

Master Gardener Tree Auction and Plant Sale - Oct 8, 2011

Tomorrow, Saturday October 8, the 14th annual Master Gardener Tree Auction and Plant Sale will be held at the Mesa County Fairgrounds.  The gates will open at 9:00 and the auction itself will begin at 10:00 with well-known auctioneer Buster Cattles presiding. The Master Gardeners will be in attendance to assist you with your selections and answer any questions you may have about the trees and other plants.

Following is a list of trees that will be included in the auction (more will be coming in today). Shrubs, ornamental grasses and other plants will also be available but are not listed here.

2011 Tree Inventory

Ash, Patmore - 8
Birch – Jacquemanii -1
Boxxelder – 3
Catalpa, western – 1
Catalpa, umbrella – 1
Colo blue spruce – 35
Cottonwood, narrowleaf – 4
Crabapple, Dubloons – 4
Crabapple – Indian magic – 1
Crabapple, Radiant – 7
Crabapple, Snowdrift – 1
Dawn redwood – 1
Hackberry – 6
Hawthorne, Paul’s scarlet – 4
Hawthorne, Washington – 2 sm, 2 lg
Juniper, Spartan (poodle cut) – 1
Linden, red twig – 1
Locust, purple robe – 1
Locust, sky line honey – 1
Maple, Hot wings tatarian – 6
Maple, Pacific sunset - 1
Mulberry, fruitless – 1
Mulberry, weeping - 2
Oak, bur – 2
Oak, gambel – 4
Plum, Newport – 1
Pussy willow, weeping - 1
Quaking aspen – 22
Redbud – 2
Yellowhorn – 2
Zelkova - 3

"The Tri River Area Master Gardeners are our horticulture volunteers, who provide education and information for home gardeners. They answer gardening questions, identify plant problems and provide research-based solutions. They test soil and water for salts and can make recommendations for improving the situation if necessary. They are available to give presentations, workshops, classes and garden tours, and can even make house calls. They greatly increase the outreach the horticulture department is able to provide. They also maintain our four acres of demonstration gardens here on the Mesa County fairgrounds.

Master Gardeners commit each year to a certain amount of work for us, and to keep up to date in the field of horticulture they also commit to continuing education. To assist in this regard, we have a Master Gardener scholarship fund, which they can draw on to attend conferences and workshops. Which brings us back to the Tree Auction and Plant Sale, our annual fund-raiser for the scholarship program. Master Gardeners have used this fund to attend lavender conferences, Pro Green Expo in Denver, and for numerous classes and workshops. We believe that through these educational opportunities they become even more valuable resources for their communities.

The trees and other plants are donated each year by nurseries and garden centers throughout our four county area. We’re very grateful to these generous businesses for their support of our program. This year’s donors include Beaver Lakes Nursery, Bookcliff Gardens, Camelot Gardens, Chelsea Nursery, Clarke and Company, Eckels Tree Farm and Hydroseeding, The Garden Center, Green Fields Seed and Feed, Leroux Creek Nursery, Meadowlark Gardens, Mile High Greenhouse, Mount Garfield Greenhouse and Nursery, Okagawa Farms, Palisade Greenhouse, Rocky Comfort Nursery, Southwest Soils, Spruce Point Tree Farm, Sticks and Stones, Sutherland’s, Valley Grown Nursery and Willow Bend Farms. Many individuals have also donated. A special thanks goes to our friend and supporter Vince Urbina, whose beautiful trees are always a big hit at the auction.

Fall is a great time to plant in our area. Our mild fall weather makes it easy for roots to become established without causing a lot of stress to the trees and shrubs. The plants for the most part have already hardened off for winter, and are less susceptible to water loss. Many trees actually do best when planted in the fall, so come on out to the fairgrounds, enjoy the day with us, visit our amazing gardens, and take home some great bargains for your own garden.
The Apprentice Master Gardener course will be starting next year on January 18, and run every Wednesday through March 28. This course, which is the foundation of the Master Gardener program, provides an extensive college-level introduction to horticulture in Western Colorado. Following the course, the Master Gardeners are available in our Mesa, Delta, and Montrose County offices to assist our clients as I mentioned above. We learn a lot, meet great people and have a lot of fun in the process. If you’d like to learn more about this rewarding volunteer opportunity, give me a call at 244-1841." Information Provided by Susan Rose, Master Gardener Coordinator, CSU Extension, Tri River Area.