There are several maintenance practices that will help to sustain a lush, green grass through hot and dry summers.
- Aeration is the process of mechanically poking thousands of holes in the soil. These holes provide a direct passage way for water, oxygen, and nutrients to the roots of your turf. Aeration reduces compaction, and runoff while improving root growth. The best time to aerate is in the summer months.
- Effective Water Application. It is best to water your grass during the early morning hours before daybreak (12am – 5am). Weather conditions are more stable and less wind is prevalent during early morning hours. It is not advised to water late in the day (6pm-11pm) because water has the opportunity to remain stagnant and create an ideal environment for fungus. Turf fungus spreads rapidly during warm humid evenings.
- Mulching mowers allow us to recycle nutrients and conserve water. These mowers finely shred grass clippings and return them to the turf area. The rate of decomposition increases during hot summer months and rapidly returns nutrients to the soil (25% of fertilizer needs). In addition, the layer of mulch within your turf shades the soil and slows down water evaporation.
- Sharpen Mower Blade. A dull cutting edge will cause tearing and leave brown tips on each blade of grass. Damaged turf is more susceptible to disease and also needs more attention to ensure survival. In addition, a sharp blade allows a mower to perform efficiently during the summer when grass is cut at a longer length. Longer turf length helps to shade the ground/root area and prevents water from evaporating rapidly.
A heat island is an area with consistently higher temperatures than surrounding areas because of greater heat retention from buildings, concrete, and asphalt. Heat islands increase summertime peak energy demand, air conditioning costs, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Click here to learn about modifications that can be made within your landscape to reduce heat island effect.
The U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is the most adopted and recognized measure for green building standards (http://www.usgbc.org). The USGBC created LEED to emphasize sustainable building practices and to provide a practical tool to measure results for building owners and occupants. The Growing Company currently maintains several LEED certified properties. Water usage, chemical applications, and maintenance equipment are monitored closely. If you have any questions regarding LEED and how it applies to landscape, please contact our Vice President, Anne Sandoval LEED AP.
Through some recent gardening research, we have learned that herbs can be used to attract beneficial insects and repel pests. One of the more interesting facts we found is that Basil can be used to deter two of the most annoying pests to humans, flies and mosquitoes. The plant supposedly gives off a fragrance bugs and flying insects do not like. Try planting some of these plants around the patio area in your backyard during the summer. It can only help.