Summit County: What’s in your yard? |

Summit County: What’s in your yard?

Becky Garber
special to the daily

Sometimes landscape pests are critters and sometimes they grow out of the ground. Either way, pests like aphids and weeds are a big concern this time of year.

Aphids are everywhere. The cool, rainy weather this year has produced a banner crop of aphids – landscape pests that are showing up on rose bushes, Norway maple, spirea, aspen and other plants. Normally, weather conditions cause them to decline around mid-June-but not this year.

Are plants at risk? Aphids are more of a nuisance than a serious threat to plant health. Trees and shrubs endure without damage. On roses, heavy infestations can create a mottled look on the leaves because aphids suck sap out of them.

If you want to be rid of aphids sooner than Mother Nature deals with them, use a soapy solution and spray it on the under side of roses. A 1-quart spray bottle with 1 tablespoon of Ivory liquid will do the job. Spray the leaves and come back after two hours. If aphids are still active, repeat the process.

The rainy spring has also been a perfect storm for bind weed and thistle. And the bad news is that these plants are naturally hard-wired to reproduce more weeds after they have been pulled. Gardeners have long complained about pulling one thistle only to get two more in its place – and it’s true.

Applying a product meant to treat these weeds may be the most effective strategy if you want a weed-free yard. The prime time to control thistle is in the fall. So if you pull thistles as they erupt during the growing season, go for more long-term control later. Apply a product in the fall, but while the thistle is still actively growing.

Weeds like dandelions thrive in lawns that are poorly managed. If you want fewer weeds, take care of the lawn. Just like you have a maintenance program for your car, have a comprehensive maintenance program for the lawn:

– Core aerate in the spring

– Apply 3-4 applications of fertilizer during the growing season

– Avoid over-watering and avoid frequent, shallow doses of water. Watering less frequently, but applying more water that soaks in promotes a better lawn. Over-watering also leads to diseases like necrotic ring spot.

– Also avoid under-watering. Drought-stressed lawns will become patchy and weeds will find a home in the bare areas.

– Mow regularly with a mulching mower that leaves mulched clippings behind. They not only provide natural fertilizer, but help the lawn retain moisture.

– Avoid cutting the grass too short and don’t take off more than one-third of the growth at a time. Set the mower height at about 3 inches.

With a healthy lawn, you will have fewer weeds to control-whether you treat them with a product or remove them manually.

Courtesy Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado and Neils Lunceford, a landscaping company based in Silverthorne that is a member. You may contact them at (970) 468-0340.

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