Monthly Archives: August 2017
Homeowners are quick to water the lawn when it begins to turn brown. What many homeowners forget to do is water their plants as well. Trees and shrubs are living things, and like all living things, they need water for survival.
The big questions are, how much water do your trees and shrubs need, and what is the proper way to water them? There are many variations of ways to watering plants: using a bucket or plant waterer, with a hose, and utilizing an underground sprinkler system are a few methods.
The easiest way to water your plants is by using an underground lawn irrigation system with a timer on it. Set it and forget it, right? The only problem is that your lawn irrigation system function is to water your lawn, not your landscape plants. For example, an automated lawn irrigation system in hot and dry seasons is not going to provide enough water when watering your plants. A specialized irrigation system can be installed for your landscape plants through your irrigation company.
There are also hoses that you can buy at your local garden supply store that you can lay on the ground around the plants, they are normally referred to as soaker hoses. These hoses have tiny holes in them that allows water to seep out of it and into the soil. Additionally, external timers can be purchased at garden centers to turn the water on and off at your discretion. These hoses are handy because once you set them around the plants, all you have to do is to turn on the water. The other option with hoses is to water with a conventional hose without a nozzle attachment. With this type of hose you should place the hose at the base of each plant. With a hose running half of the maximum flow rate, trees can be watered around 30 minutes and shrubs for about five minutes. Depending on the size of your landscape, watering the plants could take quite some time.
Finally, watering with a watering can or bucket is another option. There are pros and cons to this method. Let’s start with the pros. First, you can control the amount of water that is being applied. For instance, you may know how many gallons said bucket is, and you could use that knowledge and to see how much water you are applying. Also, you can better control the rate at which the water is coming out. As for cons, there is one major one, it could be a lot of physical work! The watering can could be heavy and require multiple trips to the spigot for filling.
How much water do you need?
Now that we have watering methods out of the way, how much water is needed for your plants? The general rule is when you water shrubs, soak the soil approximately 12 inches deep. Keep in mind that the roots from the plants can extend out about 3 times the canopy spread. For example, if the canopy spread is about 2 feet, then the root spread would be about 6 feet. These root spreads are vital in taking up water. So, how do you know when you’ve reached the watering depth of 12 inches? A soil probe. This is an apparatus that you insert into the soil and it pulls out a plug. If you can get the probe 12 inches into the soil, you’re fine. As for how often, you should water the plants when the soil probe cannot get past 3-4 inches.
How often should you water your flowers and perennials? They do not need as much water as trees and shrubs because their root zone is closer to the soil. During hot, dry periods, you should water every day to where the soil is moist. These types of plants can dry out quickly if not watered frequently enough. You should also water early in the morning because it would allow the foliage of flowers to dry out. Leaving the foliage wet for too long can allow the plants to be more susceptible to diseases.
Finally, newly transplanted trees and shrubs require more water than established plants. Keep in mind that these plants are planted with a root zone that is much smaller than that of an established plant. So, for new transplants, watering as close to the base of the plants is best to allow the water to seep into the root zone. Water these plants every other day for the first couple months to promote establishment. It can take 2 to 3 years before a newly transplanted tree or shrub becomes firmly established.
Being vigilant with watering your plants allows you to enjoy the beauty of the landscape you are trying to create. If you are in our service area or have any questions, feel free to contact us at 908-281-7888 or visit our website at www.fairwaygreeninc.com.
When thinking of summer we often think of relaxing and enjoying our home and lawn. The summer however, is the most stressful time of year for a lawn, it is brutally hot and very tough on your turf. Below are our 11 lawn care tips for the summer to keep your lawn healthy and green all season long.
Mowing at the proper height is essential. Mowing the turf high is best for the health of your grass and it is recommended to keep the grass cut at 3 – 3 ½ inches throughout the season. By keeping the grass taller, the lawn obtains more sunlight during the day which helps the grass produce food and energy. Keeping the grass tall also helps to shade the soil under the turf canopy, helping to keep the soil moist and reduce weed growth. Mowing too short weakens the turf which causes stress to the grass plant leading to drought stress, disease activity and permanent injury.
Sharpen mower blades
Have the mower blades sharpened regularly throughout the season. Keeping the blades razor sharp ensures that the grass is getting cut cleanly. When the blades are dull they rip or shred the grass blades which is harmful to the grass. This weakening of the turf can lead to drought stress, disease activity and even permanent injury. It is best to wash off your lawn equipment to avoid spreading disease to the turf the next time the lawn is mowed.
Leave grass clippings
Leave your grass clippings behind. By bagging your grass clippings, you are robbing your lawn of any extra nutrients that it can use throughout the summer months. Also leaving the clippings behind shades the soil, helping to maintain moisture.
Fertilize your lawn
Applying fertilizer in the summer gives your lawn nutrients on a regular basis and helps to keep it growing and healthy.
Properly water your lawn
It is recommended that a lawn be watered between 12 am and 6 am. An underground irrigation system should be run 1- 1 ½ hours per zone twice per week. Hose-end sprinklers should be run for 4 hours per zone once per week, both resulting in 1 inch of water on the lawn per week. Watering in the early evening (6 pm – 12 am) keeps the lawn wetter longer, which increases disease activity. Watering during the early morning hours reduces the amount of time your lawn is wet which minimizes disease activity. It also reduces water evaporation. Watering during the day (12 pm – 6 pm) is not beneficial to your lawn because most of the water being applied during the day evaporates by the sun and will not be utilized by the plant. Frequent and short watering causes a shallow root system which weakens the grass plants. Watering properly helps create a deeper, stronger root system which creates a healthier, greener lawn. Check out our blog article to learn more about watering your lawn.
Control lawn disease
If a disease outbreak does occur, a fungicide can be applied. A fungicide stops the further spreading of a disease to uninfected areas of the lawn for about 20-30 days depending on site conditions. If environmental conditions do not improve, multiple fungicides will be needed until the disease is in-active.
Control surface feeding insects
Surface feeding insects can cause substantial damage during the season. If the turf is struggling or weak, insects exploit that weakness and cause damage. Insect damage starts out looking like drought stress then gradually the turf thins and turns yellow. Insect controls should be applied when the insects are present. Additionally, insect damage can be permanent and seeding to repair the damage may be needed.
Apply a grub preventer
A grub preventer protects your lawn against grubs and the damage associated with them, which can be quite extensive. Grubs are the larva of beetles, and they chew off the roots close to the soil surface severing the plant from the roots. Signs of grub damage include; gradual thinning, yellowing, wilting and the appearance of scattered, irregular dead patches. The patches can increase in size and may join together to form larger areas of dead grass. Grub damage can be permanent and seeding to repair the damage may be needed. If interested in learning more about grubs and how to control them, check out a more indepth description here.
Control the weeds
Throughout the summer, weeds can become a major problem. They can be hand pulled or controlled using a more traditional method way, applying herbicide. Whatever method of control you choose, keeping the lawn weed free results in a healthy and great looking lawn. If you want to learn more about weed control, more information can be found here.
Clean up after your pet
Pet damage can kill off small portions of lawn wherever your pet relieves itself. Rinse the areas with water to flush out the pet’s urine in the soil. It is best to have your pet go onto a mulched area or a non-conspicuous area of the lawn. Pet damage at the end of the season needs to be repaired by seeding.
Seed the lawn
If at the end of the season your lawn is thin or bare from disease, insect, grub or pet damage, it is best to seed from the middle of August through the end of September. Seeding is the only way to reestablish grass in an area that has no grass or to fix any damage that has happened from the summer months. Make sure to purchase grass types appropriate to the location where the seeding is taking place, meaning if it is a shady area use shade tolerant grass types, if it’s in a sunny area use sun tolerant grass types.
These four steps below can help to make any seeding a successful seeding:
Step 1. Loosen the soil or add a layer of top soil to a 1 – 1 ½ inch depth.
Step 2. Apply the appropriate amount of grass seed. To find out what that may be, we recommend reading the label on the bag and consulting online research.
Step 3. Spread the grass seed and lightly mix the seed and loosened soil together (the more seed to soil contact the better the germination rate).
Step 4. Water, 20 minutes per zone twice per day for 6 – 8 weeks after seeding is completed to keep the soil moist.
There is nothing more important than good cultural practices. Summer lawn treatments can include proper watering, mowing, fertilizing and weed and insect control. These steps can keep your lawn healthy and beautiful all season long.
If you are looking for lawn service or have questions and are in our service area, give Fairway Green Inc. a call at 908-281-7888, we are happy to help.