Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Kentucky Blue Grass & Rose Bushes

Today was an interesting weather day here in Denver. There are several forest/wild fires burning and so we were very hazy today. But there were also some thin, high level clouds in the sky. Later in the day it became very muggy-very unusual for Colorado. Don't like it.

Kentucky Bluegrass on the high plains
My kentucky bluegrass Lawn has really been loving our recent rainy, cool climate. It has perked up lush and green. Kentucky bluegrass is a cool season grass. Cool season grasses green up early in the spring (usually starting in mid-march-dependent on some variables) and thrive in these temperatures. They tend to go into a slight dormancy once we reach temperatures above 85 degrees-late June through August. It is best to not fertilize with high nitrogen during these extreme temperature periods. Nitrogen encourages growth and fast growth, in any plant, will cause undue stress on the roots because it is telling the above ground portions of the plant to focus on growth. This will cause the plants to sometimes go into shock because the roots should be focused on just consumption of nutrients and water. The best remedy for our lawns at this time of the year is Revive. Revive is a soil conditioner made of basically, chicken manure and detergent. The kentucky bluegrass will then thrive once again in late summer into the late fall. This time of the year is when the grass is really focused on root development. In the spring and the fall it is best to not water your lawn before 6am. Typically in Colorado we do not have too many diseases that attack our residential lawns due our dry climate. However, these risks increase during these cooler periods combined with early or nighttime watering due to water not evaporating off of the grass blades. It is also better to wake up your lawn in the spring with long deep waterings vs. brief frequent waterings. This allows deeper water penetration that encourages the roots to spread deeper allowing it to become more drought tolerant when the temperatures do rise. (Unless your lawn has developed necrotic ring spot). The next thing to know about kentucky bluegrass lawns is that it likes 8 hours of full sun. Anything less than this made cause shade damage to the lawn. Bank's grass mites have been very active in the Denver area this spring-starting in March. Mites enjoy hot/dry weather and can even feed under a blanket of snow because it insulates them. They tend to feed on sloped areas and south and west facing lawn areas. They can devastate a lawn in just a mater of weeks-killing sections. Pesticide applications can be completed to reduce their populations and their damage. Also increased watering during these warm dry periods will help. Ensuring that you are aerating your lawn keeping the thatch layer low, so that water has better penetration is also important. Once mites have done their damage the only solution is to re-seed or lay new sod. Keep in mind that even with a pesticide treatment, mites can come back about three weeks later, so it is important to check for them again. Use a white piece of paper, swiping it across the suspected area as if wiping off a coffee table. Look for green-orange streaks on the paper. If you have these, then you probably have mites. Healthy, thick lush turf will be able to choke out many weeds on its own. And remember pre-emergent lawn fertilizer (weed n feed) does not control perennial weeds that were established in the lawn the season before. It creates a barrier to help prevent weeds coming to the surface. If you have questions, contact someone in your area that is knowledgeable in turfgrass care.

Hybrid Roses

I have six hybrid tea roses I planted three seasons ago. I did my usual soil preparation and planted my roses bordered by six small boxwoods. I planted them in front of my living room window because I wanted beautiful roses there. So far, they have not been beautiful. It was so hot the summer I planted them they spent most of the season stressed out. I have them on drip irrigation. So that fall I cut them back to 8". Last summer they came up gang busters and all of the tissue was beautiful and healthy. I had such high hopes for them. They took forever to bloom and then the blooms didn't look right and faded quickly and some of them didn't even open. I was so frustrated because I am a horticulturist-this should be easy for me right? Not so much. I called a local rosarian specialist out to look at them. They do not charge and she took her own personal time to come out to look at them. It was fabulous. She said my roses looked pretty good but that they needed to be mounded more at the base because the graft should be mostly buried in the soil. She also said it was possible that i had some midges or adelgids that had attacked the buds. I decided I would give them one more shot-if they didn't perform the following year I would be removing them. So I was determined to have them healthy. I waited to cut them back in the fall. I then removed some of the dieback in the spring when they started to show signs of waking up. I watered them with the garden hose regularly -until I could turn on the sprinklers. I bought some bayer systemic rose/flower fertilizer, insecticide, and disease control. I applied it to the roses almost two weeks ago and watered it in. So now I wait. They look as they did last spring with lush foliage and buds starting to form and getting plump. So now I wait and check them every day hoping that the flowers formed are full and fragrant and the colors that I purchased them as appear. That was the other problem, after I planted them the colors of the flowers changed and I hated the colors. They just didn't match at all. So, if it doesn't work, they are coming out and I am starting over! Hopefully I will have my answers in a couple of weeks. I anxiously await!

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