Wilhite Landscape Offers Summer Lawn Care Advice
To achieve a thick, vibrant lawn and keep it that way through the sweltering summer takes a lot of work, according to certified landscaper James Wilhite with Wilhite Landscape in Tyler.
“To enjoy your outdoor space this summer it’s important to keep it in good shape,” Wilhite said. “And putting in the time now to keep it healthy makes it easier to manage when cooler weather arrives.”
Here are some tips from Wilhite to keep lawns and trees healthy throughout summer.
1. Pest Control: Since a single insect can lay thousands of eggs, it’s important to stay on top of pests to keep their attacks on the lawn to a minimum. Check leaves and needles of plants and keep an eye out for chew marks, curled leaves, or feeding trails for indications of insect activity. Wilhite Landscape offers chemical-free pest management to optimize plant ecosystems above and below the ground instead of applying pesticides for a beautiful, healthy lawn and flowers.
2. Yellow Patches: Many things can kill patches of grass in an otherwise healthy lawn. To keep the patch from spreading treatment is needed. This year there’s a serious outbreak of take-all patch, a disease of St. Augustine grass caused by the fungus “Gaeumannomyces.” Fluctuating weather and dampness has driven the normally inactive disease out of control. The problem with the warm again cold again weather is that it encourages the grass to grow even though the roots have not established. Grass must have roots to pick up nutrients for the manufacture of chlorophyll otherwise it becomes yellow grass. Spring fertilization might have made it worse as fertilizer encouraged the grass to grow without roots. The solution is to apply a foliar fertilizer with iron and if needed a fungicide to combat the take-all patch to help the grass stay healthy until it can establish roots. The warmer weather will encourage rooting. It’s important to watch the weather and the progress of your lawn this summer as it gets a late start on rooting and all it will take is an early hot dry start to summer and your lawn could be in trouble again.
3. Water: Monitoring watering is integral in maintaining a health lawn. Always adjust the amount of watering to consider rainfall as too much water is not only wasteful it can harm the lawn’s lifespan while too little water leaves the lawn susceptible to disease, insect and weed infestations. A well-maintained lawn in East Texas needs one inch of water per week to stay green and growing. It’s better to run an automatic sprinkler system every three to four days for longer periods than every day for 10 minutes or so. This prevents roots from growing closer to the surface. Early morning watering is best, as watering in the evening can increase the likelihood of disease development because the lawn will remain cool, dark and moist for an extended period of time.
4. Mowing: Mowing has more impact on the health and growth of a lawn than any other regular maintenance activity in the summer. The height of the mower blades depends on the type of grass. Grasses like Bermuda can handle shorter cutting heights between 1.5 and 2 inches, while St. Augustine needs to be higher at 2.5 to 3.5 inches. It’s best to mow early in the morning after the dew has dried or in the evening when temperatures have dropped. Since grass is between 80-90 percent water, clippings and nutrients can be recycled back into the lawn, providing beneficial organic material for future growth.
5. Weeds: Different types of weeds germinate at different times throughout the year and it’s an ongoing battle to remove them. The weeds that germinate in the summer generally grow rapidly, produce a flower, go to seed and then die with the onset of fall. Many summer weeds are easily controlled by pulling them out by hand, because they usually cannot re-grow from the remaining roots. They can also be spot treated with a post-emergent herbicide or vinegar. If using an herbicide, make sure it is labeled “safe for southern lawns.” The best overall method of controlling weeds is a thick, well-maintained lawn, as wind-blown weed seeds will have a harder time germinating in the middle of a lush lawn. Proper mowing, watering, and fertilizing discourages many weeds from ever germinating. Thin lawns are filled up with weeds as nature does not like to see a void. Others ways to handle weeds is just to mow them or enjoy them if they are wildflowers.
Visit www.WilhiteLandscape.com to learn more about summer lawn care.