Leaves are flushing, grass is greening, the cold weather is officially in the rear-view mirror and Spring is in full bloom! Just as fast as it came, however, the Season of Luscious Landscapes nears an end; up next is summer heat. Summer is a great time for water sports and barbecues, but it can be tough on your landscape. Weeds suddenly seem easier to grow than flowers. Mother Nature kicks into high gear during the summer, so your professional landscaper picks up the pace to match!
Summer is characteristically the most challenging season for landscape management. Why? Because the intense and unpredictable weather conditions that we experience during the summer months can present serious challenges to your landscape’s health. That once vibrant and lush green lawn can suddenly be accented by muted colors of brown and gray.
As the days get longer and much warmer, plant behavior changes as well. Well-managed landscapes can continue to thrive in the summer months by paying attention to a few important maintenance activities. It’s also the time of year that earlier decisions regarding proper plant selection and placement stand out! (Every Day is Earth Day for Professional Landscapers)
Proper mowing techniques encourage strong, healthy turf. This includes the sharpening of mower blades and regulation of consistent mowing heights. Dull mower blades actually shred the grass, causing tip browning and increased moisture loss. Frank Weimer, Account Manager at Columbia Landcare in Missouri explains that “by cutting turf at 4-5 inches tall, the canopy of turf grass keeps soil temperatures cooler and minimizes weed germination. Proper cutting height also allows the turf to grow consistently throughout the season, building a strong root zone heading into cooler months.”
Irrigation / Water Management
Summer often brings extremes, from intense heat and drought to heavy rain. “Irrigation management will be the saving grace of rain starved lawns come June and July” explains Chris Killion, Business Development Manager at Signature Landscape in Kansas City. Performing a thorough check of your irrigation system upon spring start-up identifies issues to be corrected before the summer heat hits. Hot weather and drought-stressed lawns are more susceptible to damage from disease and insects. By adapting seasonal watering schedules, you ensure that seasonal water needs are being met, but also prevent overwatering; too much of a good thing can quickly become a bad thing. A properly functioning irrigation system and consistent monitoring will encourage strong root development, helping your landscape thrive throughout the summer months.
Spring is an ideal time to apply fresh mulch and spruce up your landscape, ahead of the summer heat! Frank Weimer recommends “Applying a 1-2 inches of fresh mulch to your landscape beds will suppress weeds, retain moisture, and protect against erosion. Spring mulching is a critical aspect of preserving your landscape through the summer season.”
Much like mowing heights, summer is not the time for “hard-pruning”. Shrubs should be maintained with regular, lighter trimming and not aggressive pruning; like turf, this protects limbs from sun scald and keeps ground temperatures cooler, with reduced weed pressure.
Landscapes can become infested with pests and insects as they seek shelter from the summer heat. Actively checking your landscape for any signs of stress and damage due to pests, insects, or diseases will help plants maintain optimal health. In the summer heat, small problems can grow into big ones faster than at any other time of year.
“Springing ahead” is not just for daylight savings time. Preparatory work done during the pivotal month of May will support your landscape through the long, hot summer.
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