Recovering From the Dog Days of Summer

Recovering From the Dog Days of Summer

by Angela Cenzalli, MCLP, CSP

General Manager, Jaxtimer Landscaping, LLC

The dog days of summer are upon us and it’s time to be thinking about the health and well-being of your landscape.  Many might say the summer has been fabulous; the Hydrangeas were prolific, the beach was refreshing and the clear summer night skies were plentiful with stars. However, others will say it was hazy, hot and humid.  When I see the forsythia and other hardy plants on the side of the road flagging from drought, our thoughts turn to wishing for fall.  Even our dogs are looking for relief in the shade trying to stay cool. 

This summer has been very stressful on our lawns and gardens and the long periods of dry, hot and humid weather have left much to be desired.  All lawns are showing signs of disease like dollar spot, brown patch, excessive crabgrass and other broadleaf turf weeds.  Lawns that are not irrigated most likely have a golden hue and crackle under your shoes;  under normal summer conditions these lawns are actually dormant and will bounce back once the weather begins to cooperate.  However, this may not be the case in some circumstances this season.  They may need a helping hand to fully recover.  In the areas that are not dormant but actually dead, if left untreated, weeds will move in and take over before you know it. Irrigated lawns are under stress as well and can benefit from good cultural practices.

 

 

Good cultural practices are the golden keys to any turf’s success.  These include proper mowing techniques, watering practices, appropriate use of fertilizers either organic or synthetic, good soil and amendments, quality seeds, and most importantly is timing of revitalizations.

As a homeowner, what can you do?  Well, timing is everything and it’s time to revive your lawn.  Give it a shot of energy and a chance to repair itself before the cold weather settles in for the long Cape Cod winter.  As the nights cool down and the average daytime temperature begins to recede, revitalization can be as simple as a core aeration or involve a complete turf renovation. 

At Jaxtimer Landscaping, LLC we recommend to all our customers, at a minimum, a core aeration every fall.  Aeration offers the best bang for your buck by alleviating soil compaction, reducing thatch and improving drainage.  Aeration also allows oxygen directly to the roots to stimulate growth.  Some lawns can benefit significantly from adding a quality seed using a slice seeder.  This machine uses blades and slices the seed into the soil about a quarter of an inch.  We then finish the project with a dressing of about a ½ inch of quality compost.  It is raked in over the seed slicing and core holes which amends the existing soil with beneficial microbes and promotes root stimulation, and increases overall health and stability of the turf.

A healthy strong turf with new seed germinating will increase the vigor of the lawn, choke out any weeds trying to gain position in the turf and increase the overall ability of the turf to store carbohydrates and prepare for winter dormancy.  This in turn will give your lawn a jump start in the spring when dormancy wears off and it begins to grow again, giving your turf an advantage over the elements.

If you are still asking yourself if you should make the investment, I leave you with one last thought.  A healthy lawn promotes a healthy environment.  Healthy grass helps cool the environment, and reduces carbon in the air. It also filters rain water and prevents erosion and run off. 

Finally, think about giving your trees, shrubs and perennials a helping hand as well.  They too are under stress from the hot and dry summer.  The lack of water affects even the well established shade trees in your yard.  Consider giving your other living plants a drink once a week during the fall.  If you are irrigating your plants they are probably in good shape.  However, those of us without irrigation should spend some time every week making sure we make up the difference of what Mother Nature hasn’t provided. 

If you have questions or would like to discuss preparing your landscape for the fall and winter months, please reach out to your account manager or call our office at 508-778-6466; landscape@jaxtimer.com