What a spring! The good old days!
May 19, 2008
Welcome to ‘the good old days’ in Park City where Spring starts late, the weather is unpredictable, the snow starts early in December and keeps on coming – enough to satisfy even the hungriest powder pigs – windy, cold, miserable, perfect.
Now, spring conditions are creeping in . . . melting snow, making water and mud. Spring bulbs and early flowers are coming into bloom; birds, deer, elk and moose on the move; periods of wonderful warm followed by crusty cold wind, wet and dry storm fronts coming and going. Spring in the Rockies.
There are some gardening conditions this year that we haven’t seen for the last 10 years and we need to re-address how to deal with them!
ROOTS AND WATERING – plant roots have been very wet for an extended period of time. They are black from moisture, let them ‘dry out’. Check the soil deeply; wait as long as possible before you start watering conscientiously again.
RUST COLOR ON EVERGREENS – Winter Stress. You will notice that many evergreens have reddish needles mostly on the south side of the tree. Check for buds, fertilize with Iron, try some ‘Super-Thrive’®, use a soil acidifier and some ‘foliar friend’® then wait a few weeks to see if it snaps out of it, and don’t forget to use Wilt-pruf® next fall!
BIG GAME DAMAGE –Lick your wounds, cut your losses, replace and repair!
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Big game animals were very hungry this year and they ate plants they normally wouldn’t even touch. You can be patient and let some of the damaged plants grow back out. Fertilize, prune and spray them with Repellent. Other plants are probably too far gone and need to be replaced. Try to avoid plants they are particularly attracted to like pine trees and crabapples instead, choose spruce, cottonwood and Canada Red Trees or big shrubs like Siberian Pea Shrub, buffaloberry or common chokecherry.
VOLES – Annual Vole Patrol!
They come in from outer-lying meadows under the snow and chow down on grass roots making a network of tunnels throughout the lawn and garden areas.
Control with Vole Repellent which can be sprayed in the Fall and anytime you notice them around. Usually they leave by early summer.
To Correct Damage quicker, gently rake the tunnels to flatten the ground and then seed with the appropriate blend. Be careful to get a flat grade or you will have a lumpy lawn. Grass is quite hardy and will eventually grow back by itself but the ground will not be even unless you grade it.
SEED – late spring might make you forget to get your vegetables starts going! If you do, you can always get larger starts from your local nurseries.
On the upside! It’s good for a high mountain desert to have a big winter.
All the snow pack we had with no serious temperature fluctuation actually protects the roots of trees and perennials so . . . if your yard avoided too much animal foraging and snow damage, you should experience a phenomenal growing season with very few set-backs from winter!
The plants appear to have really good Buds and Color this year. Spruce are coming out of winter looking much better than they have in years and the deciduous buds look quite healthy.
Sadly, the Southwest States had their lowest moisture year ever. We are so lucky. Be happy! In spite of the long winter, this is what it is supposed to do where we live – thankfully, it did!
Now, get going on your spring ‘to do’ List! Plant something big and expand your outdoor living space!
Submitted by Ann Barrett and the helpful staff at Park City Nursery & the Park City Tree Ranch