Maintenance Tips for Late Summer In Colorado:
It won’t be long before this summer is over and we start the transition into Autumn. It is important that you take care of some important maintenance items before your plant material goes into a dormancy phase, while the growing season is still with us. This will insure that your landscape will look great this autumn and next spring!
First, if you haven’t been keeping up with good cultural practices with your turfgrass, now is the time to make amends. Make sure you are following a regular fertilization schedule with your yard. One way of telling if your grass is receiving enough nitrogen is if you have dogs (or have dogs occasionally #2 in your yard): the areas where the dogs have gone are noticeably greener than the rest of the yard. Make sure your grass has enough nutrients (including phosphorus) through August when you will be able to still grow the roots. If the water does not seem like it is getting into the root zone sufficiently, schedule an aeration and then fertilize afterwards. Revive® is a wetting agent that can also be used for better absorption of water. Remember, you need to keep up these basic cultural practices throughout the growing season to maintain healthy turfgrass.
Weeds always seem to take over this time of year if you haven’t been keeping up with them. The worst weed to keep under control is bindweed (or morning glory). This can take over a landscape very easily if left unchecked. Make sure and keep it under control by spraying Roundup® in planting beds if there is no plant material nearby (spray on a sunny, windless day in the morning for best results). We have been seeing a lot of bindweed in grass areas too. Use America’s brand “Weed N’ Grass Stopper” and follow directions on the bottle. If it is growing around a plant try to get it out by the roots and remove the vegetative portion.
This is also a good time to make sure your drip line is calibrated and programmed properly. Run it 2-3 times a week with the temperatures so hot but make sure there is a dry out period between waterings so the plant receives oxygen to the roots. Use a moisture sensor to make individual adjustments if a plant is looking droopy rather than overwatering the other plants. If you have a true drip line you should be watering it 35 – 45 minutes of run time. Check a couple of plants the next time it runs to make sure it is working properly.
Lastly, check your plants for insect damage if they are not looking healthy. Late summer is when spider mites are at their worst: check for webs and tiny red dots (spiders) in the webs of your leaves. If found, treat them with a proper insecticide or hose them off when the sun is setting.
It is never too late to get on a good schedule of landscape maintenance: it is an investment that will pay you back with colorful rewards!