With mid-summer heat baking lawns and landscaping throughout southeastern Wisconsin, some tactical changes can help homeowners keep their grass and plantings healthy during this dry, hot period.
Mid-summer lawn care is unique. Established lawns turning brown are not a cause for concern, said Todd Ruedt, owner of Grounds Maintenance Services, Brookfield. Grass goes dormant to conserve energy, and will green up again with the return of cooler, wet weather.
However, new lawns or sections planted within the past year should be watered every two to three days to strengthen the young grass, Ruedt said. Watering should last at least 30 minutes to encourage root growth.
"A longer deeper watering is better for the plants," Ruedt said. "The water penetrates deeper and the roots will search for moisture. Soil dries out from the top down, so a short watering that just saturates the top level does little for lawn health."
Lawn watering should be done before 10 a.m., Ruedt advised. Watering at night can create fungus and root problems. Daytime watering can have little effect due to evaporation, and can even burn grass if sunlight refracts through drops on the blades.
Mid-summer heat dries out plants quickly. Perennials, shrubs and trees should be watered one to three times a week during hot weather, Ruedt said. Location determines the frequency – plants in sunny areas need more watering, and those in shady areas require less. Plants in baskets and pots need water at least every other day.
A plant whose leaves are curled up like a cup is in desperate need of watering. Droopy leaves, while uncommon during extreme heat, is a symptom of overwatering.
"Plants can go dormant during the summer and survive extended dry periods," Ruedt said. "A sustained hot spell, though, can quickly dry out plants and kill them before dormancy sets in. Watering plants regularly during times of extended heat can help them survive these conditions, which are hard on plants, animals and humans alike."
Homeowners can add mulch to planting beds to retain soil moisture and protect plants' root systems, Ruedt added.
Founded in 1999, Grounds Maintenance Services offers a full range of landscaping and yard maintenance services, plus winter snow management, holiday lighting setup and in-home Christmas tree delivery. Its professional staff prides itself on helping homeowners grow their dreams, one yard at a time.
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