Lawn Care Maintenance Monthly Tips: Caring for your Lawn and Landscape
Summer is in full force and Autumn is off in the distance.
1. Trim shrubs and hedges to maintain their shape and appearance.
2. Tip when trimming: If you notice your juniper’s leaves turning to a brown color, chances are the plants have spider mites and should be sprayed with Malathion or other recommended insecticide. To check for these insects, hold a sheet of white paper under some foliage, then tap the foliage with the back of your hand. You should be able to see tiny insects crawling all over the white paper. Bag worms are another insect that attack junipers. These insects make a hanging cocoon with juniper leaves. You will find conical cocoons made of brown, dead juniper leaves. These are “sleeping bags” for the worms inside. At night, they lower the bags down about a third of the way down their body and eat the juniper foliage from their suspended hideout. Use Malathion to treat this problem.
3. Visit a statuary maker for quaint gardening ornaments and décor. There are two popular ones in Houston: Statue Makers, on 2003 Blalock Road and The Garden Gate, on 5122 Morningside Drive. In Hempstead, Texas, there is Frazier’s Ornamental Concrete, on 23200 Highway 6. Enjoy!
4. Visit The Rose Emporium in Brenham, Texas, but first stop at the Museum District in Chapel Hill, Texas, home of Chapel Hill Sausage. The Rose Emporium has antique roses and hard to find specimens. Brenham is also home to Blue Bell Ice Cream. Call ahead of time for ice cream tour times.
5. Purchase new seasonal flowers to replace spent spring plantings. Consider new, blooming perennial plants, which will be new, permanent plants for several years to come.
6. Consider pruning your trees before the hurricane season begins in the month of August. Do not risk dangerous limbs from trees or top-heavy trees laden with heavy rain toppling on your home and personal vehicles, endangering you and your loved ones. Tree root balls give way when the earth becomes saturated with excessive rainfall during a hurricane.
7. Tip when trimming trees: If you are pruning oaks or pecan, consider making firewood, campfire wood, or BBQ wood. Have it cut no more than 18 inches in length. The thickness should be 2 inches up to 3 inches. More than 3 inches can be split using a rented log splitter. Why throw out all this wonderful resource? Store it in a dry, sheltered place for proper seasoning and later enjoyment at home, the back yard BBQ, or at the part. Why buy it when you have it?
8. Consider the cost of a natural gas backup-generator in the event of a major hurricane where city electrical power is unavailable. There are several companies in town who install these generators, including Home Depot.
9. Make certain your foundation is getting enough moisture to keep your home from developing structural cracks in very dry weather from the earth’s cracking, expansion, and lifting. Foundation flower beds are a most excellent means to keep your homes foundation level. Add some foundation beds as necessary, or add strip irrigation. Perforated soaker hoses may not be a sufficient source of necessary moisture. There are companies in Houston who install a mechanical moisture system for foundations, complete with an irrigation timer and moisture level reading equipment.
10. Protect your foundation from trees that are extremely close to your home. During very dry seasons, the tree roots can extend under your home seeking moisture and also cause structural building damage as they grow and expand. A root barrier consisting of sheets of thick polyurethane or other types of suitable material can be installed between the roots and the home. A trench is excavated to the appropriate depth, the targeted roots are truncated, the barrier installed, and the trench is then backfilled. Any subsequent root fibers that begin growing will be deflected to grow in the other direction by the barrier in place.
11. Check for chinch bugs again to determine that all is well with your lawn. Remember, chinch bugs migrate, and if neither you nor your neighbor has them, they can still arrive on a lawn mower from a hired service company. Surprise, surprise, surprise!
12. A new insect to identify this month is the June bug, sometimes called the May bug. This is a reddish brown flying beetle that likes to gather around the porch light at night beginning in spring. It tunnels 2-5 inches lays the eggs for grub worm larvae. The grub worm is a white, c-shaped larva that grows underground up to 1 inch in length. These larvae will feed on weed roots and other available root vegetation. By September the grubs begin feeding on St. Augustine, Bermuda, and other lawn grasses. Their mouths are for chewing and they will cut all the roots of the grass to the effect that the grass can then be rolled up like a carpet. To detect grub worm presence and damage, take a walk on your lawn. If at any point the grass feels spongy or springy underfoot, stop. Kneel down and press with your hand to consider how it feels loose. Next grab some grass with one hand and pull lightly a few times. If it is not tightly attached, but gives or lifts, there are grub worms underneath indeed. This can be confirmed by digging a 1-foot square hole. If up to 10 grub worms are found in the excavated soil, there is an infestation in your lawn. Using a broadcast spreader, apply a granular chemical called Ofthanol, or other suitable product recommended by a local chemical store. Here again, unseen damage can be preempted by a soil treatment in June.
1. Raise the mowing height to 4 inches and continue mowing weekly through September. This is in order to protect the grass from the extreme heat and drying out. The grass may not appear attractive at the first cutting, since it was not cut short and tight, but the grass will begin to appear greener from the extra moisture retained in the longer leaves. To continue mowing as at 3 inches will cause the grass dry up and to begin to turn brown.
2. Check for summer patch fungus if the grass begins to yellow. To achieve this, examine the base of the grass stems, called stolon runners, or simply runners. By getting on your knees and spreading the grass apart, a white mold will be seen growing on the leaves and runners at the level of the dirt line. If the grass looks sparse, and pulls off easily with your fingers, the grass is affected by gray leaf mold, another fungus that deteriorated the leaves at the point of attachment to the runners.
3. Special note on runners. During the height of the summer heat, you may notice one or several runners floating on top of the lawn after just having mowed. The first impression is that the mowing blade needs sharpening. The fact is that the runners are coming up to the surface to seek much needed water due to a shallow watering schedule or infrequent rains. This is an indication to adjust your irrigation time a couple of minutes to suit your landscape’s requirements.
4. Check for fungus on the bark of magnolia trees and wax ligustrum trees. It will show up as a grey discoloration and will be apparently different than the rest of the healthy bark. Douse the tree roots with an appropriate systemic fungicide. Capstan is an excellent choice.
5. Check for chinch bugs again. No luck? Good job!
6. Run irrigation system to ensure all stations are operating properly.
7. Break time, break time! Visit Buchannan’s in the Heights area. This is a plant nursery built on Texas native plant stock, and they have garden décor as well. You will find there many wonderful and unusual Texas native plants and flowers!
1. Use a broadcast spreader to fertilize your lawn with a premium, slow-release 15-5-10 fertilizer. This is a non-burning fertilizer that does not require watering but, of course, works best when watered in. Purchase a spreader that has a dispersal guard, to keep granules from going unnecessarily onto streets, sidewalks, driveways, and patios. Be especially careful with the inside of the pool for the iron granules will cause rust marks to appear all over the paint job of the pool’s floor. The pool may need to be drained and repainted in the worst case scenario. After the application, be sure and use a powered blower on all paved areas to prevent oxidation marks from fertilizer granules. These granules can be blown into the lawn or garden areas.
2. Facts about lawn fertilization. A regularly fertilized lawn will maintain its rich, green appearance through the month of December. Healthy grass will be more resistant to insects, disease, and weed infestation due to its vigor and tightly knit thatch.
3. Trim shrubs and hedges to maintain their shape and appearance.
4. Be on the lookout for sod webworms. In the month of August, be aware of small, tan colored moths visiting on your lawn and inside your plants and shrubs. This small, innocuous appearing moth is laying eggs for sob webworm larva, which will hatch and begin eating the leaves of your grass, stripping it down to the stolons, or runners. There are three common signs to watch for. If birds are flocking to your lawn, they are dining on sod web worms. Also, a large infestation will cause the grass to appear from a distance to be yellowing and paling in color compared to the surrounding green grass. The third and final sign is to actually walk to the suspect area, get on your knees, and consider the chewed-up appearance of the leaves on the runners. To discover the web worms, open several affected grass areas and look for fresh, green pellets of poop about 1/32nd inch in diameter. The web worm will be curled up near its own poop. Damage caused by feeding web worm larva spreads rapidly and so quick action in required. Visit a local chemical store, or Home Depot, and purchase a product called Power Force, by the Bayer Company. This product is a topical application consisting of cysluthrin and comes in a 32-ounce hose-end sprayer. One container covers approximately 5,000 square feet. Purchase enough to spray the lawn and all the shrubs, where the web worm moths continue to hide until the day cools down in late afternoon. After the Power Force is applied, return the next day with another Bayer product called Bayer Complete. This product also comes in a 32-ounce hose-end sprayer and has both a topical, cysluthrin, and a systemic, imidaclotrid, to remain in the grass leaves and protect from a further infestation. The coverage area is 5,000 square feet. These products are awesome and your problem will disappear within 1 week. After an infestation like this, an application of premium slow-release 15-5-10 fertilizer to your entire lawn is advisable, to bring new life and vigor to your damaged grass. Run your irrigation system purposely to activate the fertilizer and see the results within 1 week after the Bayer treatments. Be sure to check afterwards for any further web worm activity, during which time you should see dead worms and old poop. Spot treat any remaining area as necessary with the above Bayer products.
Did You Know?Every month the list of lawn care and landscape tips changes to match the season,
so come back every month and we'll help make your landscape look its best...