As Utah’s drought issues continue this year, it’s important to start the gardening season with water-saving practices in mind. USU Extension provides a website with drought information and resources at dry.usu.edu. Topics include household water conservation, water conservation in landscapes and gardens, drought resources of rangelands and livestock, agricultural resources, economic resources available during a drought, and general information on water conservation. Also, the Center for Water-Efficient Landscaping website, cwel.usu.edu. It includes information on the “Water Well with CWEL” webinar series, designing a water-friendly landscape, the #Wait2Water campaign, and more.
- With water-saving practices in mind, consider these tips when preparing your yard and garden this year.
- Plant peas in the garden every 2-3 weeks (until early May) to prolong the harvest.
- Click here to learn how to plant and harvest rhubarb.
- Check out the fact sheets produced by USU Extension. There are over 55 on herbs and vegetables!
- Mechanically control young weeds in the garden by hoeing or pulling by hand.
- Protect fruit flowers and tender garden plants from late freezing temperatures.
- If you are storing bulbs, check their condition to make sure they are firm and remove any that are soft or rotten.
- If locally available, plant bare root trees and shrubs, keeping exposed roots moist until planting.
- Wait to prune the roses until the buds begin to swell to prevent new growth from being damaged by late frost.
- Prune spring-flowering shrubs (those that flower before June) after they have bloomed to encourage new flower buds for next season.
- Divide crowded perennials that bloom in the fall.
- Divide cool-season ornamental grasses when new growth begins to emerge.
- Apply chelated iron to plants with previous problems with iron chlorosis.
- Use organic mulches (wood chips or bark) to retain soil moisture around shrubs and trees.
- Plant a tree to celebrate National Tree Day. The USU Tree Browser offers an interactive list of tree species suitable for Intermountain West.
- Apply pre-emergence herbicides from late March to mid-April to control annual weeds in your lawn, such as crabgrass and spurge.
- In compacted sites, aerate with a hollow core aerator when the turf is actively growing from April to June.
- Check sprinkler systems for leaks. Also clean the filters, attach and align the heads.
Pests and problems
- Download the Utah Home Orchard Pest Management Guide.
- Learn about common problems with peaches and nectarines, pears, plums or apricots.
- Reduce the use of chemicals to encourage the presence of beneficial insects in your landscape.
- Treat for coryneum blight in stone fruits (cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots and plums) when the husk is separated, approximately 10 days after flower petal fall.
- Treat for powdery mildew on apples beginning when leaves emerge ½ inch green through June.
- Monitor wet weather during flowering of apple, pear and hawthorn trees to determine whether to treat fire blight.
- Treat fruit trees for cat-facing insects, such as chinch bugs, to prevent dimples and wrinkle marks in the trees.
- Use a preventative control for peach leafminer in peaches, nectarines and apricots to help reduce twig and fruit damage later in the season. For specific timing, see http://utahpests.usu.edu/ipm.
- Control flying spring beetles in pines and other conifers.
- Protect birch trees previously infested with birch borer by applying a systemic pesticide.
- Click here to subscribe to Utah Pests IPM advisories for timely advice on controlling pests in your yard and garden.
- Consider taking an online gardening course. Classes cover everything from vegetable gardening in pots and creating the perfect soil, to planting trees and controlling pests. The courses are aimed at both novice and professional gardeners.
- Many of our Master Gardener Classes will be held virtually or as a combination of virtual and in-person classes this year. For more information on in-state courses, visit http://extension.usu.edu/mastergardener/find-a-program.
Further information on gardening can be found at http://garden.usu.edu. You will find guides to growing fruits, vegetables and herbs, information on the maintenance of soil, lawn, yard, trees, shrubs and flowers. Also, monthly tips, gardening basics, information on events, courses, etc.