Tip of the week: Look out for pests
Hot days and precipitation can create a perfect environment for insects in our gardens and landscapes. Gardeners along the Front Range and high elevations should be on the lookout for pests that could make a meal of their plants.
Let's talk about two common Colorado pests:
Aphids commonly appear on mixed lettuce greens, radishes, broccoli and kale. Marigolds and lemon thyme planted in your edibles garden can help deter this messy pest.
If you have roses of any kind, you might also see aphids on buds, tender new growth and even stems. Be aware that aphids multiply by live birth and are clones of their mothers. Their numbers can explode in one day, so take care of them as soon as you see them.
Luckily, aphid control can be simple: a quart spray bottle filled with tepid water and one tablespoon of dish detergent. Spray on plants for a quick and easy fix. Releasing lady bugs -- available at local garden centers -- can also help deal with aphids.
Japanese beetles can devastate garden plants and can do so quickly. In a matter of days, Japanese beetles can "skeletonize" leaves of a variety of plants. After their chomping, all that remains is a filigree of the leaf, as all the soft green tissue has been chewed away.
Japanese beetles love roses, both the flowers and leaves. They also enjoy raspberries, grapes, and Virginia creeper, America linden, horse chestnut, and green beans. When you spot adult beetles in your landscape, the best method is to shake or pick them off plants and dispose of them in a bucket of soapy water. Experts warn against beetle traps; the trap's lure may actually attract additional beetles into your yard, and traps are not proven to reduce the amount of destruction the insects cause.
Many pest controls are available from garden centers, including soaps and other treatments. Some of these products should not be applied to edibles, so read labels and follow the instructions before using. And if an infestation seems out of control, consult a professional to help you manage the situation.