(Teucrium chamaedrys)

Bees, hummingbirds, butterflies, and gardeners all appreciate the lovely purple-pink flowers of Wall Germander. Imported from the mountains of southwest Asia and Europe, this woody herb resembles a diminutive, flowering boxwood, growing about one to two feet high and wide. Germander has small, oval shaped leaves of glossy green. The short flower spikes appear in mid-summer and continue until fall. Their minty scent perfumes the air (and may attract the neighborhood cat).


clematis.pngQ: My neighbor told me I need to prune my jackmanii clematis now. Is he right? How much do I cut back? This is a new plant for me and I don’t want to lose all those gorgeous flowers.

A: Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ belongs to the group of clematis cultivars that bloom on new wood (stems that start growing on the plant each spring). If left alone, the plant will become thin at the base, and over time it will be riddled with dead stems instead of the lush flowers we associate with healthy clematis. (more…)

pruning1.pngQ: Recently I noticed some crossed branches that are rubbing together in my green ash tree. I know this isn’t good for the health of my tree. I couldn’t see it last year when the tree was in leaf. Can I trim back these branches now?

A: Late winter pruning may be the best time to prune many deciduous trees. Dead, diseased and damaged wood can be removed anytime of the year as it’s needed. Pruning during the dormant period minimizes sap loss and subsequent stress to the tree. Also, by pruning now you’ll reduce the risk of fungul infection or insect infestation. And, as you noticed when the branches are bare it’s much easier to see where pruning is needed. The key is to prune the unwanted branch while protecting the trunk wood. (more…)

Q: What can I be doing in my yard and garden in early spring?

A: Here are a few tips to get your yard ready for the growing season.

Rake up last fall’s leaves, pine needles, thatch and other debris. Make sure the grass is getting adequate moisture to avoid grass mite damage and other dry turf problems.


photo by Don Bunce, Colorado Master Gardener

Aeration plugs

Aeration is the best way to help your lawn thrive. It will reduce thatch and soil compaction, improve water and air absorption, encourage healthy root growth and control weeds. Remember to flag sprinkler heads before aeration. Plugs should be evenly spaced and two to three inches long, so watering well beforehand is a must. Aeration provides a great surface for fertilizing or over-seeding.


Fertilizer should be applied when grass is actively growing. Fertilize cool grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass, fescues and ryegrass in the spring. Wait to fertilize warm weather grasses such as buffalo grass, blue grama, and bermudagrass in midsummer. Colorado lawns prefer a fertilizer that is primarily nitrogen and includes some iron. Mulching mowers leave the grass on the turf and essentially provide all the needed nitrogen. (more…)