Your lawn, landscape, and sprinklers in the summer

 If you have been outside lately there’s no denying it… it’s Hot! Oklahoma’s hot, dry summers can put a strain on your grass, landscape, and not to mention your pocket book. Here at From the Ground Up we want to see your lawn and landscape the way they were meant to look, vibrant and beautiful, as well as save you money with these summertime tips.
First we will take a look at some simple summer care techniques for your plants and grasses. Most all plants will stress out during extreme hot and dry conditions. Hot summer days are not the time to do any major pruning as this will stress and possibly kill your plants or grasses. On that note I would also like to mention that actually keeping your lawn a little longer this time of year will keep it green while your neighbor’s yards turn yellow. The longer blades on the grass act as an insulator helping to keep the heat away from the roots. Less heat to the roots also means your lawn will not need to be watered as much. So save the major pruning on your trees and shrubs for the early spring or fall and let your lawn get a little longer this year.
The summer months are also when several insects emerge. Aphids love to invade Crape Myrtles during the hot months so keep an eye out for a glossy film on the leaves with tiny white specs. There are many products available to treat for aphids, but remember that several treatments will be necessary to break the aphid life cycle. Another insect that thrives during the summer months are the infamous webworm and bagworm. Webworms create large nests, or webs, high up in trees, usually Pecan’s. These worms will slowly eat any and all available leaves. Bagworms on the other hand, usually look for a good evergreen like a Spruce, Atlas Cedar, or Juniper to munch on. These moth larvae begin to build little hanging bags this time of year as they eat away your tree or shrub. A preventative spray during May-June will keep these pests at bay. The final insect I want to highlight in this section is the common grub. Grubs flourish in the spring months however preventative treatments during the months of May-June of the previous year is best to control them. The mother will lay her eggs in the ground to hatch around July. These larvae feed on the roots and organic matter near the surface. As the weather cools they move deeper into the soil, only to re-emerge during the spring more hungry than ever. With all of these pests a professional is best recommended to both diagnose and treat them.
Still yet another obstacle you want to try and avoid with your plants and grasses is mold, mildew, and fungus. Most people associate mold and fungi with the wet spring months however the hot months are when they are most prevalent. One thing that can contribute to this factor is watering in the evening or at night. If you water your plants and lawn at night STOP! When you water at night your plants never have a chance to dry out. This residual water, along with the warm temperatures, is a perfect incubator for a multitude of molds, mildews, and fungi. Treating your plants with a fungicide may help prevent these diseases. Most fungicides are applied right before the plant blooms, and again about a week later. Because there are many contributing factors, here again we recommend a professional who will best diagnose any mold, mildew, and/or fungus as well as give you the best options to treat them.
The final thing we will look at during the summer months is watering. One of the most common calls I get is “My (plant) looks bad so I have been drowning it in water but it isn’t helping.” Water is an important element to summer plant care, however too much water can be more damaging than not watering the plant at all. Most all trees, shrubs, flowers, and grasses enjoy a good drink of water but they do not like to stand in it. If your plants never get a chance to dry out they will die pretty quickly as the roots never get a chance to take in oxygen. So, if your plants are drooping during the hottest part of the day, that is normal. As long as the plant perks back up the next morning there is nothing to be concerned about.
Because most everyone is on permanent water restrictions (you can only water on an odd or even day based on your house number) it is important to water your plants and grasses on your day. If you have an automatic sprinkler system with spray heads in your flower beds, run your sprinklers 10-15 minutes (for an established landscape) early in the morning during 90 degree + days. For spray heads in lawn areas you will water about the same range of time. If you have rotary sprinkler heads in your lawn areas you will need to increase this time to 20-25 minutes. Of course these times will vary depending on the type of grass, type of soil, and sun exposure. It is always a good idea to check your sprinkler system routinely. Any breaks in your system may be costing you money in water usage. These tips will best help your plants take advantage of the water you apply.
Two additional ways that can help save you money on your water usage are a smart controller and a rain and free sensor. Sprinkler controllers have come a long way in the past few years. Most new units are WiFi enabled and allow information input such as soil type, sun exposure, slope, and plant varieties. With these variables the controller runs so that the least amount of water necessary is applied with little to run-off. A rain and freeze sensor will shut off your system if it is raining or if the temperatures are near freezing. This will also save you money in water usage and possible future repairs. From the Ground Up is here to help with any issue you might be having in your lawn or landscape so follow these tips and don’t’ blame the ragged look of your lawn and landscape on the heat this year.

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Our family has worked with “From The Ground Up” for over 2 years now and their work has always been outstanding. We met with Jim to discuss laying sod in the front and back yard and creating a stone porch from scratch in our back yard. Through each step of the process he guided us through what he thought would look and work best, but also met our needs of what we were looking for. We could not have been more impressed with the quality and timeliness of the work. We now continue to use his company for regular lawn maintenance and his crew does a great job. I know we will use “From the Ground Up” for any future lawn upgrades/improvements!

~ Charles and Monica Coleman