PUNCH LIST: Car­ing for plants af­ter heavy rain, watch­ing for dis­ease in the gar­den»

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - CSU Ex­ten­sion Betty Cahill speaks and writes about gar­den­ing in Colorado. Visit her site at http://gar­den­punch­list. blogspot.com/ for even more Colorado gar­den­ing tips. By Betty Cahill, Spe­cial to The Denver Post

We’ve seen it all this gar­den sea­son, from de­struc­tive hail in May to weeks of hot, dry weather fol­lowed by lin­ger­ing mon­soon rain, then cool weather. The good news is the sun will re­turn to ripen the toma­toes and bring back our sum­mer. In the land­scape

• Use care when work­ing around plants af­ter heavy rains. Avoid walk­ing on or near plants or root sys­tems.

• Heavy rain can splash away soil cov­er­ing sur­face roots, so re-cover any vis­i­ble ex­posed roots with soil or com­post. Re­new mulch if needed.

• Veg­eta­bles may need a light fer­til­izer bump af­ter heavy rains.

• By mid-Au­gust fin­ish fer­til­iza­tion of warm-sea­son grasses (buf­falo grass, blue grama, Dog Tuff ). Yel­low­ing of grass could be iron chloro­sis. Sup­ple­men­tal iron may be help­ful.

• Fe­male mos­qui­toes bite and feed on an­i­mal blood (they use it to nour­ish their de­vel­op­ing eggs). Eggs hatch when they come in con­tact with wa­ter from rain­fall or ir­ri­ga­tion. Walk around the en­tire land­scape and empty all wa­ter hold­ing con­tain­ers or any place where there is stand­ing wa­ter.

• Trap slugs with moist­ened rolled-up news­pa­per or pa­per towel rolls near af­fected plants. Each day put the trap with cap­tured slugs in a bag and throw away. Or bury to the rim sev­eral shal­low con­tain­ers of beer or sugar wa­ter (fer­mented liq­uid) to at­tract and drown the slugs. Mush­rooms

They ap­pear ran­domly or in cer­tain shapes in lawns. Mush­rooms can sprout overnight. They are more un­sightly than harm­ful to the lawn.

The um­brella shape is very com­mon, but other shapes, sizes and col­ors can ap­pear too. Com­mon names in­clude stinkhorns, puff­balls or bird’s nest. My com­mon name — yuck!

Toad­stools, as they are of­ten called, are the above­ground re­pro­duc­tive (fruit­ing) struc­tures of fun­gus caused from de­cay­ing mat­ter in soil. Food sources in your lawn from de­com­pos­ing tree stumps, mulch and saw­dust or con­struc­tion wood-scrap de­bris feed the fungi.

Never eat mush­rooms in the land­scape and keep chil­dren and pets away. They may be poi­sonous — only ex­perts in this field are qual­i­fied to state which ones are safe or not.

Un­for­tu­nately re­mov­ing mush­rooms will not kill the un­der­ground mycelia (threads of the fun­gus).

Dig­ging up the de­cay­ing mat­ter might help, but that may be a big job.

Rake, mow or pick off mush­rooms as soon as they ap­pear to min­i­mize their re­lease of spores to other ar­eas. They can be tossed in the com­post pile or thrown away.

Ring-shaped mush­rooms are of­ten called “Fairy Rings” in lawns. Rings can be a few inches to sev­eral feet in size. The grass in­side the area is usu­ally greener, and some­times lawn ar­eas die be­cause the mush­rooms pre­vent wa­ter from reach­ing the soil. Fungi­cides are not rec­om­mended for con­trol.

There are three types of fun­gus caus­ing Fairy Rings; con­trol op­tions vary from adding ni­tro­gen, wa­ter in­jec­tions or core aer­a­tion. Read more at http://planttalk.colostate.edu/top­ics/ in­sects-dis­eases/1400-21fairy-rings/ Dis­ease watch Pow­dery mildew is show­ing up on many plants, in­clud­ing aster, monarda, veron­ica, lilac, grapes, roses, zin­nia, hy­drangea, squash and pump­kins.

High hu­mid­ity and sus­cep­ti­ble plants ac­cel­er­ate the fun­gal spores to grow on plant leaves.

Pow­dery mildew is host spe­cific, so the fun­gus caus­ing PM on grapes is a dif­fer­ent fun­gus than the one caus­ing PM on lilac.

Left un­treated, leaves turn white, yel­low, then black be­fore dy­ing and fall­ing off.

Avoid over­head wa­ter­ing and re­move se­verely in­fested leaves. Do not com­post.

Skip late-sea­son ni­tro­gen fer­til­iza­tion, which pro­motes more growth that be­comes sus­cep­ti­ble to pow­dery mildew.

Re­move in­fected leaves that have fallen off the plant and be sure to clean up in­fected leaves later this fall.

Look for pow­dery mildew re­sis­tant cul­ti­vars when shop­ping, and next year dur­ing plant­ing, try to give plants plenty of room and air move­ment to grow.

Gen­tler or­ganic prod­ucts con­tain­ing potas­sium bi­car­bon­ate, bacil­lus sub­tilis or neem oil are ef­fec­tive for pow­dery mildew pre­ven­tion and some con­trol. Read all la­bel in­struc­tions for ap­pli­ca­tion rates and best time of day to ap­ply.

Betty Cahill, Spe­cial to The Denver Post

Mush­rooms are more un­sightly than harm­ful to your lawn.

Pow­dery mildew on a plant.

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