As we round out the hot season, consider mixing up your lawncare routine. Save yourself some time outside by skipping a step: leave the cuttings on your lawn! The cuttings encourage moisture to stick around, reducing the amount of watering you’ll have to do. They also act as natural fertilizer by returning nutrients to the soil. It is a win-win!
Fertilizer, pesticides, and other lawn chemicals are expensive. Save your money by following these tips:
- Spot treat your weeds: instead of treating the whole yard, dig up or spray the root of individual plants.
- Clean up with a broom: sweep any dry chemicals off your sidewalk, driveway, or street and back into your yard or collect it for next time. Fertilizing your pavement won’t make it grow and these chemicals will just wash away with the next rain.
- Set your mower height at or above 3″: a taller lawn keeps the weeds from getting enough sunlight AND helps the grass develop a better root system, requiring less water.
- Follow package instructions: if you have to apply chemicals, please read and understand package instructions before you apply. These chemicals really only work in specific seasons, on specific plants, or at controlled concentrations. You may do more harm than good by applying before a rain, during a dormant season, or overapplying.
1. Water early in the morning to soak water into lawns and prevent loss to wind or evaporation.
2. Time watering sessions and don’t overwater. Most lawns only need about an inch of water per week to thrive.
3. Look for leaks to prevent unnecessary water loss.
4. Mow at least three inches high to avoid stressing grass turf during hot weather.
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Simply follow four steps to get your sprinkler system ready for the season and running efficiently.
- Inspect and replace clogged, broken or missing sprinkler heads.
- Check for leaks where heads and pipes connect, tighten if needed.
- Direct sprays on the landscape.
- Select the proper watering schedule or employ a weather-based irrigation controller.
Warmer weather brings on lawn watering. Follow these tips for efficient and effective watering.
1. Water early in the morning, before 10 AM to avoid wind and evaporation from higher temperatures.
2. In ground sprinkler systems are most effective. Pulsating or tractor sprinklers are recommended for manual watering – the heavier drops drift less.
3. Soak 6 inches of soil or do the screwdriver test to determine soil moisture. Push a long-blade screwdriver straight down into the lawn. There’s adequate moisture if the blade penetrates the soil easily depth of 6 inches. If it doesn’t water a bit more.
4. Water twice a week max so the grass develops a deep healthy root system.
5. Or let it go dormant. Grass goes dormant in hot weather, just like it does in the cold of winter. Periodic watering will keep the soil moist and protect roots without killing grass, just like a spring shower or winter snow.
Fall, right after the first freeze, is the best time to fertilize the lawn and combat weeds as the plants take the fertilizer and herbicide deep into their systems as they shut down for the season.
Remember to apply chemicals “Sparingly and Caringly” – using only the amount needed according to instructions – to promote plant health and prevent waste. Sweep any extra back onto the lawn after application to prevent loss in runoff as fertilizer and pesticides are the top non-point source pollutant in US surface waters.
A cooler forecast heralds the official start of Autumn. Take nature’s cue and wind down lawn watering to once a week. According the Panhandle Bluegrass Calendar, now is the time for broad leaf weed control (like bindweed) too. Since broad leaf weeds stockpile nutrients to their roots in the early Fall, the herbicide is absorbed there too and works more effectively to eradicate the plant.
For more info see: https://extension.unl.edu/stat…/panhandle/turfgrass_calendar
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