How to Maintain the Grass in Extreme Heat

REFRAIN FROM CUTTING TOO SHORT

One common mistake made by both homeowners and commercial landscape maintenance companies is cutting a lawn too short. If a lawn is cut too short, it reduces the plants’ ability to produce energy for growth. When cut at the proper height, however, grass develops stronger roots that support more vigorous plants that are more tolerant of stress. Keep in mind that different varieties of grass have different growth habits that directly relate to mowing heights. For example, cool season grass and warm season grass types require somewhat different maintenance techniques. Research which cutting height is right for your lawn.

REMEMBER THE “ONE-THIRD” RULE

When deciding on the correct height to cut your grass, it is important to also remember the “one-third” rule: never remove more than one-third of the grass height at one time. By doing so, the lawn is kept cooler because less plant tissue is removed. In fact, cool season grass types actually benefit in the heat of the summer by setting the blade higher. If a lawn is normally cut at 2.5 inches, for example, increasing it to 4 inches in the heat of summer will come with many benefits.

LIMIT WATER INTAKE

One collective misconception about maintaining grass in extreme heat is the necessity to overwater. A glaring issue is that after rainfall, people still irrigate their lawn. A general rule to keep in mind is that turf grasses do better managed on the dry side rather than wet; when soil is constantly wet, it creates too many physiological problems for plants and soil organisms alike. The grass roots will be deprived of oxygen and may become more susceptible to disease because diseases thrive in wet conditions. In general, the drier the grass and soil, the less disease there will be.

Another rule-of-thumb is to water “deeply and infrequently.” Water deeply to wet the entire root zone, and then do not water again until the grass is dry. To determine next watering time, simply “eye-it.” If it starts to look dry, then water. If you would like to be specific, water the hot spots (spots that get dry faster than the rest of the lawn) and then wait for the rest of the lawn to dry out.

While it is important to be adequate on hydration, do not water the grass daily. Lawns need only one-inch of water per week, including rainfall.

WHEN IN DROUGHT

Avoid mowing the lawn during drought stress. Lawns under such stress are limited in their ability to recover from mowing and can be damaged even more. Instead, mow the grass after a rainfall or after irrigation day. Also, resist mowing wet grass to avoid clumping.

KEEP BLADES SHARP

When grass is cut with a sharp mower blade, the plant will heal faster than when cut with a dull blade. Dull blades will actually tear the plant tissue, not cut it; this torn grass tissue will develop a brown appearance at the surface and may become more susceptible to stress and disease. Sharper blades will prevent a brown appearance and help to prevent further harm to the plant.

DO NOT BAG GRASS CLIPPINGS

Return clippings to the lawn by using a mulching mower. Clippings are actually beneficial to the lawn, as they act as a slow-release fertilizer for the plant as they decompose. It is important to aim the clippings away from streets, storm drains, and bodies of water.

Flea and Tick Season is Here – Be Prepared!

In this guide, we will study how timely preparation can help you protect your beloved pets during the flea and tick season. A bit of prevention can go a long way in keeping your pets safe and healthy.

How to prepare for the flea season
Fleas and ticks are often hard to prevent and control, especially since they are able to thwart even the most professional methods and efforts of pest control. Additionally, and rather unfortunately, we humans are directly responsible for bringing these tiny pests inside our homes, mainly during the flea and tick season. We unknowingly create an environment that is conducive to the growth and well being of these parasites.

People in urban areas often wonder how their pets acquire fleas despite not being in contact with other animals. The answer lies in the fact that owners are usually walking the pet near tall grasses, weeds, trees etc. These trails/areas are invariably swarming with fleas and ticks and often the city public park maintenance is not up to required standards. The grass is rarely mowed or trimmed to a proper height. All this leads pets to be infested with fleas, ticks and other parasites. Therefore, it is essential for pet owners to provide clean, well maintained and hygienic surroundings for their pet, especially during the beginning of tick and flea season.

Let us look at some important ways of achieving this:
• Refuse and garbage areas must be sealed, tightly shut and kept as clean as possible. This will limit wild animals from inhabiting these areas, so that there is lesser likelihood of them bringing in fleas and ticks.
• Bird baths and feeders also bring in ticks and fleas during the flea season. Try and limit these visitors in your yard and prevent them from sharing your pet’s food or water.
• Lawns, trees and bushes must be well-trimmed. Garden fences may be used for limiting the pets’ access to the garden areas.
• There are many flea and tick preventing solutions and sprays available for outdoor usage. An example is the beneficial nematodes solution that can be sprayed around the garden to prevent fleas and ticks during the season.
• If you pet is housed inside dog houses/kennels, make sure you clean these from time to time as these can be breeding grounds for parasites. Inside your home too, make use of diatomaceous earth powder or Borax powder on carpets, rugs and pet bedding to kill fleas, eggs and larvae.
• As per your vet’s advice, do use flea/tick shampoos, drops, powders or pills for the pets before the flea and tick season arrives, as these can also help prevent many parasitic infestations.

Dreamlawns has an excellent program to control Fleas and Ticks throughout the summer months. Call or email us to get more information and signup for this important warm weather service.

What is Nutsedge?

When timely rainfall happens in the spring, our lawns grow quite nicely. In addition to the grass, however, summer weeds also start to appear. One of the most difficult lawn weeds to control goes by several names including nutsedge, nutgrass and water grass. The technical name is yellow nutsedge. Although this weed looks like a grass, it is really sedge, one of a group of plants that have triangular stems. As the name implies, yellow nutsedge is pale green to yellow in color. It grows rapidly in the spring and early summer, often sticking up above the rest of the lawn only a few days after mowing.

Nutsedge grows best in moist lawns, often with poor drainage. The weed can also be introduced into better soil conditions through contaminated topsoil or nursery stock. As with many weeds, nutsedge is less competitive in a dense, healthy lawn than in a poorer, thinner turf.

Pulling nutsedge environmentally friendly but takes time

Nutsedge is difficult to control culturally because it produces numerous tubers that give rise to new plants. Pulling nutsedge will increase the number of plants because dormant tubers are activated. However, it is possible to control small stands of nutsedge by persistent pulling. Pulling will eventually weaken the plants and cause them to die out.

Using herbicides to control nutsedge

Herbicide treatments are the best way of controlling this pesky weed. If an infestation is not too severe, one application should take care of the problem. Since nutsedge is not a grassy or broadleaf weed but sedge many of the common herbicides available to the consumer will have little or no effect on its control. No matter what you call it, nutsedge, nutgrass or water grass, be sure to call Dreamlawns for the best control of this lawn weed problem.