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Lawn & Landscapes

Yard Care

Summer Gardening Tips for High Altitude Lawns and Landscapes



Mountain lawn and landscape care in the Rocky Mountains

Summit County brings an awful lot of challenges for successful lawn care and landscaping. During the summers, we have warm days and cool nights, however this is an ideal time to manage your high altitude gardens. Here is a checklist to consider as you look to tackle some landscape projects.

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Fire Safety

This year has started off very dry. If you do live in an area susceptible to burning, check with one of our local fire department districts (Lake Dillon Fire Protection or the Red, White, and Blue Fire Protection) to get suggestions to help minimize property damage during wildfires.

What can you do now? – Start by removing fuel sources by your home:


  • Trim back any branches that overhang property structures
  • Eliminate dry brush and dead vegetation around your property and most importantly near your home
  • Keep yard, trees and any plantings properly irrigated
    Keep your firewood piles away from your building
  • Clean your gutters, roofs and any debris such as leaves and sticks
  • Prune the lower limbs of trees and remove plants/shoots form below the trees to eliminate fuel sources that allow flames to reach branches or canopies
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Taking Control of your Weeds

Not only will staying ahead, or at least on top of weeds early in the season will make your all the difference in the appearance as well as making it easier as the season goes on. Which ones to get rid of first? Start with pulling and/or digging any weeds that are about to set seed. Check out the Summit County noxious weed guide here.

You can use broadleaf herbicide to spray plants individually to help preserve your grass while killing your unwanted weeds. Dig or spot spray dandelions and thistle in lawns. Dandelions and thistle need at least the top 2 inches of tap root to prevent the plant from returning again.

Vegetable Gardens

Summit County is known for its harsh environment, but with practice a handful of vegetables can be grown in your garden. To develop a great vegetable garden, consider the following

Some recommended herbs and vegetables:




Arugula (Rocket)
Mustard Greens
Pak (Bak) Choi
Stir Fry Mixes (Red Mustard, Mizspoona, Pac Choi and Asian Red Kale)
Swiss Chard



Roots, tubers, Stems, etc:



  • Good soil preparation
  • Be aware of wildlife in the garden, from slugs to moose
  • Vegetable gardens will have to be irrigated
  • Selection of seed varieties for short growing season is critical
  • Consider using a raised bed
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Plant Native Perennials

To help bring wildlife to your yard and add great natural colors to your landscape, consider native plants.

Yarrow (Achillea spp.)
Monkshood (Aconitum columbianum)
Columbine (Aquiegia spp.)
Kinnickinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
Aster (Aster spp.)
Locoweed (Astragalus spp.)
Larkspur (Delphinium spp.)
Shooting Star (Dodecatheon spp.)
Mock Strawberry (Duchesnea indica)
Fireweed (Epilobium spp.)
Aspen Daisy (Erigeron spp.)
Gentian (Gentiana spp.)
Sweetvetch (Hedysarum occidentale)
Sunflower (Helianthella spp.)
Rocky Mountain Iris (Iris missouriensis)
Blueflax (Linum lewisii)
Lupin (Lupinus spp.)
Holly-grape (Mahonia repens)
Bluebells (Mertensia spp.)
Elephanthead (Pedicularis groenlandica)
Penstemon (Penstemon spp.)
Plox (Phlox spp.)
Potentilla (Potentilla verna)
Sulpher Flower (Eriogonum umbellatum)
Stonecrop (Sedum spp.)
Violets and Pansys (Viola spp.)
Sage (Artemisia frigid)
Silver Mound (Artemisia “Silver Mound”)
Painted Daisy (Chrysanthemum leucanthenium)
Shasta Daisy (Chrysanthemum maximum)
Delphinium (Delphinium elatum)
Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus)
California Poppy (Escholtzia spp.)
Wild Strawberry (Fragaria Americana)
Gaillardia Daisy (Gaillardia aristata)
Sweet Pea (Lathyrus odoratus)
Maltese Cross (Lychinics chalcedonia)
Peony (Paeonia officinalis)
Iceland Poppy (Papaver nudicale)
Oriental Poppy (Papaver orientalis)
Pasque Flower (Pulsatilla patens)
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia vulgaris)
Tansy (Tanacetum vulgaris)

Deadhead & Fertilize

As your plants flower, be sure to snip off your dead blooms from annuals and perennials. Removing dead blossoms will encourage more flowers to develop. Be sure to keep your flowering plants up to date with fertilization regimens.


As plants begin to grow, it’s time to start adding stakes to keep heavy plants upright. Check out trees around your property to ensure everything is in good condition.

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