Thursday, April 27, 2017

Japanese Beetle Spring Larvae Control

It is early in the season to be writing about a garden pest that doesn't even show its attractive coppery self until June or so. I'm not fond of giving any complements to Japanese beetles because of their insatiable, destructive appetites for many of our favorite landscape plants. However, there are effective control options that gardeners can focus on now prior to the adult beetle emergence from grass turf this summer. 

My recommendations are based on factual and research-based resources including Colorado State University Extension and the United States Department of Agriculture.,h_400/a2faa4_b73e71cff98e433a95da4a56098172fa~mv2.jpg
Internet graphic from JMB Equipment
Keep in mind that there is a tremendous amount of misinformation about Japanese beetle controls out there. Comments are already showing up on local internet-community bulletin boards. My best advice is to read and follow the recommendations from reputable sources and remain informed. 
Spring Larvae Controls:

Following their life cycle will help in understanding when and what control products to use. Japanese beetles have a one-year four-stage life cycle (like butterflies, but JBs take one full year). The egg-larva-pupa-adult life cycle begins when the adult beetles emerge from their winter home (spent as larva and pupa) below turf grass. 

When they emerge along the Front Range is anyone's guess - in the past few years they have been seen as early as mid-June. My hunch is they may emerge earlier because of the warm Denver area winter and spring. Once they are flying as adults, they begin feeding, mating and laying eggs in turf grass so the cycle begins again. Check the graphic to see how they spend each quarter of their life. 

There are organic and synthetic products to use on grass turf in spring and again in the summer through fall during their egg laying period. Keep in mind that adults are very good fliers, so even if you treat your lawn, this is no guarantee they won't fly in from other neighborhoods. In large numbers JB larvae may cause turf die back as they eat their way through their grub stages, so treating the lawn is worth doing (IMO). 

University and Agriculture experts recommend treating the turf as soon as the female beetles emerge and begin laying eggs. On the many edu websites and reputable sources I've read, synthetic granular grub control products may not have much killing effect on mature overwintering grubs. Pay attention to when to apply products and read all the labels for their efficaciousness.

Check out the Colorado researched fact and information sheets linked below. As a quick summary, I have written my bullet points from my April 7, 2017 Denver Post Punch List -

Denver Post Punch List - Second Week of April
  • Japanese beetles have invaded certain areas in Denver, Littleton, Centennial and south into Pueblo. They are very destructive chewers of several ornamental flowers and foliage. In large numbers their larvae can cause turf die back. 
  • Adult Japanese beetles emerge from turf areas anywhere from late June into July. We are about two weeks ahead of spring, so consider treating the lawn now to kill their larvae.
  • Keep in mind that adult Japanese beetles are good fliers so treating your lawn doesn't mean they won't fly in from surrounding yards, parks, school grounds or golf courses.
  • Timing is everything, so apply grub control products soon, then again in the summer during their egg laying period.
  • Look for a product that is labeled for Japanese beetle grubs (larvae). Read and follow pesticide labels, some products may need to be watered in well after application.
  • Caution when using products containing imidacloprid and chlothianidin (neonicotinoid insecticides) that adversely effect pollinators like bees who visit blooming weeds including dandelions and white clover. Mow or remove any blooming plants in lawns before application.    
  • Products containing Chlorantraniliprole (trade names - Acelypryn or Scott's Grub-Ex) are fairly new registered insecticides that have a much lower potential hazard to pollinators than do other insecticides used for Japanese beetle larvae control.
  • Biological controls including parasitic nematodes and milky spore infect and reduce larva survival. These products can be pricey and may need repeated applications for control.
  • Colorado State University Extension and the Colorado Department of  Agriculture both recommend using a combination of controls to reduce numbers. This includes flicking adults into soapy water, and other recommended sprays for adults and products for grubs. Traps are not recommended for adults - they attract more adult beetles to the area.
  • Check out these three excellent research-based resources -
For links to the other blogs I've written on Japanese beetles, please click here - Japanese Beetle Blues 2016. The cedar oil "home brew" spray recipe for adult control of JBs in my blog is not research-based.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Rose Pruning Workshop - Cancelled

Yep, Mother Nature is predicted to bring cold and snow on April 29, so the pruning workshop is officially cancelled. The Denver Rose Society will try again next year around the same time.

Depending on your perspective, one of the most or least favored spring garden chores is pruning the roses. Proper pruning means healthy regrowth with eagerly awaited blooms. Conversely, roses have thorns (technically called prickles), some varieties more than others, but with proper gloves and long sleeves the work is quick.

If you're in the camp of not knowing how much to prune on the rose shrub or how far down to cut in to the cane, then may I suggest cancelling whatever you have scheduled on Saturday, April 29 and attend the learn how to prune your roses workshop hosted by the Denver Rose Society. You'll just need to take a short drive to the Jefferson County Detention Center Rose Garden via 6th avenue (or another route of your choosing), exit at Johnson Road in Golden. Here's the direct link with all the helpful Google Map information Rose Garden at the Jefferson County Detention Center.

 Jail Pruning in Action (photo by Anna L.)
Why go to a detention center to learn how to prune roses you may be asking (I asked the same question when I joined the Denver Rose Society several years ago)? 

Because on the northwest side of the jail complex there is a rose garden that is tended by the inmates - the only one in the country with this type of landscape learning opportunity for jailed inmates. They have the chance to work outside during their sentence and provide a much needed service for the county. Talk about win-win. 

The rose garden is open to the public and you'll find easy access picnic tables to enjoy the view of the foothills and roses - is that a nice combo or what! Read more about the jail rose garden - Jeffco Jail Rose Garden History.

Each year in late April the Denver Rose Society invites its members and the general public to attend this pruning workshop at the jail rose garden. You're welcome to just watch the demo and learn from the experts or bring your pruners and join in the pruning fun with some guidance and tips from DRS members. The best part (besides learning how to prune) is that we aren't responsible for removing the pile of spent canes, the inmates happily rake and toss them after we leave.

Here are the who-what-wheres-

Who: Denver Rose Society invitation, open to all, NO CHARGE
When: 9:30 am to 12:30 pm (come anytime during this window)
Where: Jefferson County Detention Center Rose Garden
What: (to bring): comfortable clothes, hat, sunscreen, water and snacks are provided. Grab your pruners and loppers, don't forget your gloves if you plan on participating. 
What If:  the weather is crummy, then check the DRS Facebook page to confirm cancellation. Or phone 303 901-1389 and ask if the workshop is happening.
Stuff to buy: Mile-Hi Rose Feed - one of the best organic fertilizers on the planet, made right here in Colorado. It's not just for roses, use it on any plant, vegetable or shrub that likes a boost of NPK and other good stuff. Plus there will be a few very hardy Bailey Nursery potted roses for sale - leftover from the April 1 educational SymROSEium. 
That's me - getting ready to prune 'Gourmet Popcorn'
Once your roses are spring pruned, the garden season of blooms and enjoyment really begins (at least in my garden book). See you on the 29th!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Fertilizer Spreaders from CO-Horts

Spring lawn fertilization is as normal as checking for leftover change in the public phone booth change slot ...oh no, wrong century. That's what we did as kids, if you're under twenty, ask your parents about phone booths - also known as "payphones." It's rare to see one in today's world. But it is reassuring to know that fertilizing the lawn each spring is one garden chore that will probably never go away. Unless we keep moving toward Jetson style living. There I go again, showing my age!

Lawn in early April
Back to lawns and a very timely CO-Horts blog from Alison O'Connor, the Larimer County Extension Horticulturist, and knowledgeable turf expert among many other gardening topics. This is from her popular series - "Hort Peeve and Pleasure." This one is on fertilizer spreaders. Check it out on the link below. She'll give you the quick answers on fertilizer spreaders and if hand crank or push spreaders are recommended. And do you go with a drop or centrifugal type? The answers await.....

"Hort Peeve and Pleasure: Lawn Fertilization"

Happy fertilizing!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Spring to Winter

What a difference one day complaints, we need the moisture!

April 3, 2017

April 4, 2017

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Roses - Gotta Have One or One Hundred

It's not often to see a garden, private or public that doesn't have a rose shrub growing somewhere. They easily have a place in freestyle cottage-styled landscapes that include long blooming daisies, asters, old-fashioned hollyhock, iris and spireas. But don't discount them inter-planted with native plants, in rock gardens or areas that include Plant Select® plants and herbs - roses are herbs, after all.

Before I tell you about my favorite rose bushes, I'd like to extend a warm invitation to attend a very fun, plus educational rose event that is taking place this Saturday, April 1, 2017 at Denver Botanic Gardens in Mitchell Hall from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm. It is the Denver Rose Society's annual SymROSEium, sort of a play on words - get it - a symposium about roses! Every year the DRS hosts this three-hour gathering to learn, connect and support the society with good stuff for sale like bare-root roses, fertilizer and memberships (belonging to a plant society is good for the soul, so please join us). 

This year's program features two great speakers - Carol O'Meara from Colorado State University Extension with a program on the arrival of Japanese beetles to our gardens . Tammy Jansen, ace rose gardener and past president of the DRS will give a presentation entitled - "Practically Perfect, Ideal Roses for YOUR Garden and their Secrets for Success." There's no fee to attend, just pay entrance to Denver Botanic Gardens unless a member of the Denver Rose Society or the gardens. They also have reciprocal entry for members of other plant groups, just show them your card if you have this mutual agreement. 

For additional information click here - April 1, 2017 Educational SymROSEium.

Now for a couple of my favorite roses, the first one happens to be part of the Plant Select® program. Plant Select® is the place to find rock-star plants that perform very well in Colorado's high elevation, low water - low humidity and tough growing conditions (did I mention clay soils).

Photo from Plant Select®
I enjoy seeing large scale roses like the popular 'Rosa rubrifolia' aka red leaf rose naturalized in a good sized landscape, back dropped with subtle, yet commanding blue to green shades of conifers. The trees are a given four season of evergreen interest while the never demur 'Rosa rubrifolia' delights us viewers with emerging spring purple foliage with narrow star-like single vivid-pink flowers in May to June. Enjoy the one-time spring season of bloom, but look forward to not having to worry about diseases, watering too much or shaping or pruning through the growing season. 

The show continues in to fall with red to bronze colored nearly thornless canes that perfectly contrast with the abundant orange hips that keeps birds focused into early winter. And never worry about cold weather die back, red leaf roses are hardy to zone two - that's a minus forty degrees! Yes, they'll work just as well in smaller landscapes, but you'll probably just need one with a height of six to eight feet and a spread of five to seven feet (block out that neighbor who sees right into your back patio). They are sold in just about every reputable garden center up and down the Front Range, mail order too.

Photo by Anna L., Denver Rose Society
Roses evoke memories, many of them from childhood or from relatives who loved growing them. My ninety-two year old Mother loves hybrid tea roses (and grows them well in her zone 3/4 Billings garden). Her list includes 'Double Delight,' 'Chrysler Imperial,' and 'Tiffany.' Of the three, I also adore 'Double Delight' because my Mom's sister - my Aunt Martha also loved it.  She grew 'Double Delight' for years when she lived near SouthGlenn Mall (back when it was still a mall). The fragrance was a welcome heavenly spice that floated through her courtyard garden all summer. She rarely missed displaying a full bloom in a pretty rose bowl on her low marble top table. She fussed a little bit over her 'Double Delight' with regular fertilizer and winter mulch, but the anticipation of the creamy-blushing-red large blooms kept her (and her niece) happy for many, many years in her small patio home. I miss her.  

Hope to see you on Saturday, please tell me about your favorite rose.