When I think of lawns, I think of bare feet, slip-n-slides and four leaf clovers. I think of lawn chairs, cold lemonade, small children and puppies. I think about hammocks gently rocking in the wind and the click-click of a sprinkler. The scent of freshly cut grass is intoxicating and is the essence of summer.
This year’s erratic weather combining the fourth wettest June on record followed by a heat wave with tropical-like humidity, has been brutal on lawns [as well as shrubs and trees]. The weather this season is causing many lawns to look like a teenager with acne–breaking out with random brown patches [which are actually a fungal growth]. Some lawns appear zombie-like, suffering from slime mold. Slime mold can also be found in landscape beds [where it looks like a yellow blob of dog vomit]. Dollar spot sounds like a good deal until you realize it is actually a fungal disease that makes your lawn look like a green shirt covered in bleach stains. Red thread sounds pretty until your lawn looks like a Christmas ornament.
However, all is not lost. There is time to repair the damage – and still enjoy your lawn. In fact, August is a great time to address the problems that are now evident in lawns, trees and shrubs.
Many times, lawn repair is all that is necessary to remedy any of the lawn issues. When disease has run rampant, however, re-seeding a lawn is likely the best remedy. The best time for re-seeding is generally August through October.
Another secret weapon to achieving a healthy lawn is aerification. Aerification is a method of loosening up compacted soil by removing plugs of soil, allowing water penetration and the exchange of air in the soil with fresh air and water. It also helps break up thatch and improves the uptake and utilization of fertilizer applications.
Trees and shrubs are also under tremendous stress from this year’s weather conditions. You may have noticed some yellowing of the leaves and excessive leaf drop. This is caused by excessive moisture in the soil. One of the most effective methods to rejuvenate stressed trees and shrubs is vertical mulching. Vertical mulching opens up poor soils to get air and fertilizer to the roots. It also drains away salts and gets rid of toxic gases. It also allows for more effective fertilization.
Keep your lawn happy and enjoy the memories you make this summer.