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Tips and tricks for keeping lawns healthy in July

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

Whenever we have a heat wave like the ones we have been having on and off this summer, it is a good idea to take frequent breaks and replenish lost liquids as you work. We want you to enjoy your garden and not end up in the hospital. Here are a few things to do and to be looking for at this time of year:

1) Irrigate warm-seasoned grasses at this time of year as needed. Most lawns will need one and one-half of water each week. It is best to apply all at one time or split the application to make two three-quarter-inch applications several days apart. All of this is dependent upon any local water restrictions based on our current drought status.

2) Watch for chinch bugs in St. Augustinegrass and be prepared to apply Talstar to control them. We have had numerous samples of St. Augustinegrass brought in with chinch bugs.

3) Weeds are really adaptive to the harsh conditions that prevail in the summertime. Check on your weed population, get the weeds identified and control with the appropriate weed control product. The best weed control strategy is to have a well-established lawn that prevents weeds from establishing.

4) Fertilize the warm-seasoned grasses with 1/2 to 1 pound of actual nitrogen for our area, except for Centipedegrass.

5) Continue to mow at the proper heights for the various grasses:

St. Augustinegrass 2.5 to 3 inches

Bermudagrass .75 to 1.25 inches

Zoysiagrass .75 to 1 inch

Tall Fescue 3.5 to 4 inches

6) Watch for mole cricket activity; small tunnels at the soil surface. Merit is usually applied for mole cricket control in late May and followed up with an application of Talstar around the first of July. If you haven’t already done so, it is getting late. Please do this right away if you are having problems with mole crickets.

7) Keep up with sprays for repelling deer. We were visited recently and sustained a lot of damage. They have stopped feeding since we sprayed the plants with the repellant.

Crapemyrtles

Crapemyrtles are some of North Carolina’s favorite summer landscape trees. They provide great color and interest in the landscape and they are also adaptable to numerous stressful landscape situations. Several tips to consider for enhancing their performance are:

1) Take care of Japanese beetle problems immediately. Use appropriate insecticides (Sevin, Talstar, Orthene or Malathion) to control the generous population of beetles. Also, look for crapemyrtle aphids and be prepared to control them. They will excrete a shiny sticky substance called honeydew, which will become a host for the fungus “Black Sooty Mold.” You can generally tell when this is happening because the plant takes on a dark, blackened appearance and the bees visit the foliage instead of the flower to feed on the sweet, sticky “honeydew.”

2) As the flowers begin to fade, keep the limbs trimmed back. You will also notice that many of the limbs will be drooping under the heavy load of blooms. They should be trimmed periodically to maintain an upright form.

3) Now is a good time to prune lower growing branches back to enhance the tree form of the plant. Stored energy reserves are low at this time and new growth will be minimized.

Help your crape myrtles lose weight this summer. As the flowers fade, tip-prune them. This will encourage new, dense growth and more flowers for late summer.