To thrive in summer, lawns need water every week. When you water, imitate a slow, soaking rain.
This allows the water to penetrate deep and the roots will grow down, away from the heat and drought at the surface. When you water, lay down 1 1/2 inches slowly and gently. Purchase a sprinkler that delivers water slowly, avoiding wasteful runoff. Between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. is the most efficient time to water.
Water anytime your lawn retains footprints or the grass blades curl inward.
Where soil is thin, the grass dries out first and turns a bluish color, signaling the need for water.
Week One
• Consider planting groundcovers where grass will not grow such as shady areas, around tree roots, and on steep slopes. Select plants based on the amount of sun or shade the site receives.
Ground covers are a great way to keep you yard looking beautiful and preserve the soil in hard to grow areas.
• Mildew problems on roses, phlox, and lilac are likely to occur with the hot, humid, moist days and nights. Be sure to water only in the morning, and only on the ground around the plant, try not to get the foliage wet. If this and other fungal problems persist, we suggest using Infuse by Bonide, which is a systemic fungicide and repeat the application every 10-14 days.
Week Two
• Chrysanthemums should be cut back halfway to encourage fall blooming. If not trimmed they will bloom later this month and not in the fall.
• Typically, July is an extremely hot month and proper mowing of your lawn is critical to help it survive the summer. “Mow it high and let it lie” should be your slogan. Cut your cool-season turf (fescues and bluegrass) to a height of 3-4 inches and leave the clippings on the lawn where they will decompose naturally.
Mow warm season grasses, such as zoysia and Bermuda, to a height of 3 inches.
Week Three
• Prepare garden space now for fall cool season vegetables. Work in composted manure or leafgro to add organic matter, remember to check PH which should be at 6.0 to 7.0. It’s time to begin thinking of fall vegetables. Seed for fall crops of broccoli, kale, turnip, and cauliflower should be sown in containers by the third to fourth week in July. Late crops of squash, beans, and cucumbers can be direct sown through the end of July.
• This is a reminder that frequent watering of container and patio plants as well as hanging baskets leeches the nutrients from the soil. You must fertilize to compensate for this loss.
I suggest using Jack’s Classic fertilizer at half the dose rate every other time you water. Also, replace any soil that may have shrunk away with an organic compost such as Leafgro, or Composted Manure.
Week Four
• Cut back herbs through the summer to keep plants bushy and productive. Essential oils are most concentrated right before bloom. Now is a good time to propagate herbs by stem cuttings.
• Roses are a delightful summer delicacy. Many roses likely had their first big bloom of the season back in June, but they may still be flowering. Deadhead spent blooms by snipping branches above a set of five leaves (this is where new flowering growth will be produced). You can also keep a watchful eye for pest or disease issues (powdery mildew, black spot, aphids, rust, etc.).
Fungicide or pesticide can be used to treat these diseases, or simply cut off affected branches and dispose of them. Then try to increase rose health by improving air circulation (cutting back overgrown branches and making sure they are not smothered by other plants nearby) and feeding them with an organic rose fertilizer, such as Espoma Rose-Tone.
(Editor’s Note: Ken Morgan is the owner of Robin’s Nest Floral and Garden Center in Easton, Md.)