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August is usually the hottest month of the summer in our area. This is the time of year our customers can relax on the patio with a cool drink after the sun goes down. We’ve taken care of their property. For those who are still the do it your self types, here are a few tips to help you along:

Lawns

A raised cutting deck on your mower will reduce stress on your turf. When mowing, keep mower blades high.

You may need to increase watering during the middle of summer. Water yard daily in early morning with the last station going off at sunrise or as water restrictions dictate. Afternoon thunderstorms can produce a lot of rainfall. An irrigation system fitted with a rain sensor can save water and avoid operating rainy days.

dandelion

The best weeding advice we could give is to stay on top of them! By weeding for a few minutes every couple of days, we can save ourselves a back-breaking Saturday afternoon when you'd rather be fishing. Take a moment in the evening to relish in the beauty of your landscape and while you are there, quickly dig out a few weeds that are trying to creep in or snap off that dandelion seed head before it blows away. Prevention also goes a long way to keep weeds at bay. Identify Weeds

Trees and shrubs

Now is the best time to trim trees besides January because trees are dormant from the heat. Check your trees for dead hanging limbs that you might need to cut away. Thunderstorms are frequent during the summer and tree limbs can do a great deal of damage. Also, prune any plants that might interfere with your AC condenser and trim bushes that might be too close to the house.Pruning an apple tree with pruning saws

Now’s the time to do one last hand pruning or shearing of the evergreen hedges. Growth will be tapering off soon, and they probably won’t need attention again until next spring. Don’t prune them in fall so you don’t risk encouraging new tip growth that’s susceptible to browning when the temperatures dip below freezing.

Trim any bushes. Untrimmed shrubs can trap moisture and invite termites. Keeping bushes trimmed can also eliminate potential hiding places for burglars or other unwanted visitors. Boxwoods are best pruned in early spring. Prune to remove faded blooms of Knockout roses. Fertilize roses monthly until September with fertilizers such as: 10-10-10; one gallon of liquid fertilizer dilution; or fish emulsion. More on taking care of Roses

Look for plants that are under stress from the heat. When the weather cools you may think about moving plants that prefer more moisture and shade to a different location so they will be happier next year.

Watch for pests and manage them accordingly, as many insects will attack plants when they are under stress from drought. Learn about identifying pest by type of damage

Monitor soil moisture. Provide supplemental watering and/or increase watering times on your drip irrigation system during hot, dry periods.

Planting beds

Senior woman working in the garden mulching

Adding a few inches of mulch to your garden beds will smother and kill most weeds. It also has the added bonus of helping the soil to retain moisture on those hot days!

Deadhead annual and perennial flowers to keep their energy in flower production, not seed development. Pinch out the top buds of dahlias, phlox, and garden mums for bushier plants and more flowers later in the season.

Don't fertilize woody plants now. It stimulates green growth that will not have time to harden off before winter.

Perennials and Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses don't need much care right now. Most of them should be thriving - enjoy the beauty, movement, and texture that they provide!

Some perennials that are done flowering can be dead-headed to promote another round of flowers!

Watch soil moisture closely, and add additional mulch around the base of plants if mulch has thinned out. This keeps the roots cool and helps preserve soil moisture.

Spring blooming perennials can be divided and transplanted this month and next. Keep fertilizing the annuals in your pots and hanging baskets. The frequent watering leaches the nutrients from the soil. Continue to look for insects or disease damage and control if necessary.

Irrigation and mulching are important practices for successful landscape. Experiment with drip irrigation and other low volume systems to conserve water. Rain barrels that receive storm water from your gutters are a good way to supply moisture to thirsty flower gardens.

Other

Hanging baskets by now need water twice a day.

Hovering HummingbirdProtect your bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Bees will be abundant on your flowering plants- in many areas of the country bees are disappearing, so be sure not to use pesticides on any areas that my impact your bees!

Vines come from the ground and grow on the house. Insects come from the ground and use those vines to get into your house. Vines also trap moisture against the house and they can eat away the mortar in between your bricks, jeopardizing the stability of your exterior walls. So, while vines might be pretty they are not good for your house and you should trim them back regularly. If you really want to keep the vines hanging around install a garden trellis next to your house. They come in a variety of sizes and they keep vines away from your foundation.

Beware of poison ivy as you head out for a camping trip or hiking a favorite trail. Lotions, applied like sunscreen, are available at most drug stores to deactivate the oily chemical that is responsible for the dreaded rash. Poison ivy can be identified by its foliage – 3 leaflets per leaf – and its growth habit is either groundcover or tree-climbing vine.

Speckled Kingsnake (King Snake), Lampropeltis getula holbrookiSnakes are a common sight during this time of year. Most are friendly and good to have around for eradicating pesky voles and mice. Remove them with a long pole if you have a phobia of snakes. Snake repellents are generally a waste of money. Removing brush and piles of wood, as well as eliminating mice are important strategies for keeping snakes away from a home. Bird netting strung around an area at ground level will trap snakes. Though you should monitor the trap and release captured snakes promptly.

Change the water in your bird bath regularly and keep it filled. Stagnant water may become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Owners of ponds or water features need to be vigilant on making sure they always have adequate water levels. They lose more moisture to evaporation and splashing then one might think.

Scout for pest problems and treat as needed. August is prime time for bagworms on evergreens, budworms on annual flowers, a second generation of scale on euonymus, webworms on fruit trees, spider mites on spruce and other evergreens, scale on magnolia, and lace bugs on azaleas and pieris.

Not much else to do but stay cool!


OUTDOOR TRUTHS

It really is fun to watch hunters this time of year. We are no different than any other group or even species. I would guess that every animal or mammal has trigger mechanisms – those things that happen that tell them something else is about to happen. For instance, we know that certain moon phases trigger certain types of behavior in some animals. We also know these trigger points have to do with aspects of how they were created. Some creatures hear at levels above or below that which a human can hear. Some creatures have other sensory perceptions that allow them to detect weather conditions far in advance of our modern technology.

Hunters must have something as well; I just don’t know what. But I do know there is something within us that triggers a trip to the hunting store. I don’t think it’s just the fact that it’s August. I think it’s much more complicated than that. Some would say that all of the hunting shows cause us to react the way we do, but I’m not so sure. In fact, I wonder which comes first, the hunting shows or the urge to hunt? I actually feel like I’m part of an old science fiction movie where all of the people that the aliens have possessed come in a trance to a central location to wait on the mother ship to arrive. No one tells them to come; there’s just an urge that comes over them so strong they just have to leave.

Gary Miller
gary@outdoortruths.org

Copyright

Precision Lawn Care, Inc. 2016