Printer Friendly

There's much to do before you can rest.

Byline: Paul Rogers

COLUMN: ROOTS OF WISDOM

July is not a month for gardeners to be lying in the shade. Not that you do not deserve a rest, but the Mayflies, deer flies and mosquitoes will eat you alive! There are also a few challenges out in the landscape that require your attention. It is better to be aware of the potential for problems than to exist in blissful ignorance.

Year-round, maintaining grass can always stress our peace of mind. Lawns remain in good green growth thriving on the plentiful supplies of moisture received thus far this season. However, July has arrived and the month was seemingly invented to stress turf. Our grasses grow best in temperatures in the 60s and 70s. July brings high 80s and 90s. Grass luxuriates with ample moisture. July supplies brief violent thunderstorms that provide much sound and fury, but little ground-soaking water.

July also brings Japanese beetle adults up out of the ground and onto grapevines, hollyhocks, roses and other yard plants, where they feed on leaves and flowers. Yet, destructive as their feeding may seem to be, the real problem is the mating, which leads to egg laying, which results in the grubs that will be eating grass roots for about the next eight months.

Even moderate population levels of grubs (fewer than 10 per square foot of lawn) can weaken grass plants and make them more susceptible to diseases, droughts, weed competition and many other problems.

If you expect to manage your grub population below lawn damaging levels, it is time to apply a grub control chemical. (Many exist, pay your money and take your choice.) Depending on soil moisture levels, egg laying should begin before the end of the month. It may require two weeks after a grub-proofing chemical is applied before it has reached the state of readiness.

In addition, our yards are hosting myriad pests - Oriental beetles, Asiatic garden beetles and two different chaffers - that all eat plants. If you intend to use any pesticide, read and understand the printed directions. Most will indicate that grub-proofing agents must be watered in with at least -1/4 inch of water after they are spread.

Note carefully all cautions and safety directions. Read them twice. Remember that any chemical that is designed to kill a bug is unlikely to do you much good.

Exposed bare soil can easily warm to a root-injuring degree in July and August. Bare soil needs to be covered. Use whatever organic material - straw, sawdust, bark, grass clippings - available to you. The depth need not be more than 2 or 3 inches. If possible, water the soil well, then mulch.

Because of the wet spring, it would be easy to think that your grounds are sufficiently moist and that thundershowers are helping to maintain moisture levels. It is unlikely that your assumptions are correct. First, we have had numerous forecasts of thundershowers, but only a limited number of storms. A violent storm does not allow much moisture to penetrate the soil and most water runs off. Showers are, by their nature, brief and often result in less than one-tenth of an inch of rain. Water, then rest.
COPYRIGHT 2011 Worcester Telegram & Gazette
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2011 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:LIVING
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Jul 10, 2011
Words:530
Previous Article:BUSINESS PEOPLE.
Next Article:Summer strum; Ukulele finds fans of all ages.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters