need a break

Did you know that being too hot can have a negative impact on your intellect? It’s true!

So what better time to take a break in air conditioned comfort, challenge your intellect, and just think about the great (and hot!) outdoors.

Last month, we addressed some common areas in need of attention on higher education campuses in the summer. Here, we’ll dig a little deeper into one of those topics, the landscape.

Summer is a key time for general bed maintenance, weeding, proper mowing techniques, and watching plants for water stress (drought and/or overwatering if heavy thunderstorms prevail).   Some specific tips to help with your planning:

  • Cut down and remove spent bulb foliage ”“ do not yank from ground
  • Install seasonal annuals at key locations and in decorative planters
  • Maintain groundcover beds by cutting or mowing down shoots that expand beyond their boundaries
  • Begin summer weed control ”“ watch for and remove invasive species, known weeds, unwanted plant seedlings, etc.   Remove by hand weeding wherever possible (including roots); only use chemical herbicides if absolutely needed and follow manufacturer’s instructions and do not apply herbicide immediately prior to rainfall or in/ near ponds, streams, lakes (most are not safe for aquatics)
  • Monitor for insect and disease pests throughout planting beds ”“ use IPM techniques (Integrated Pest Management) and horticultural soaps and oils instead of synthetic chemicals whenever possible
  • Order bulbs for fall planting
  • Avoid planting new material from mid- to late-summer due to much higher risk of transplant shock and mortality.
  • Begin summer mowing schedule
  • Dethatch smaller event lawns
  • Mulch grass clippings directly into turf
  • Only apply fertilizer and other chemicals as needed and per manufacturer’s recommendation (do not apply immediately prior to rain)
  • Avoid mowing in wet conditions (after irrigation, right after rainfall)
  • If using an irrigation system, begin to implement watering schedule
  • Perform occasional selective soft pruning of shrubs to maintain natural form, height, or hedge dimensions.
  • Perform selective pruning of spring-flowering shrubs that have finished blooming (some exclusions apply)
  • Provide supplemental water to new planting installations as well as to key planting beds and species during extended periods or dry weather or high heat

With so many things to do in summer, it is also important to note that summer is NOT a time for heavy tree or shrub pruning, or for installing new plants due to increased risk of transplant shock and mortality.

Break-time’s over! Time to get back to it and help your landscape thrive through the summer and be in top condition when students return ”¦ in several weeks!