H&G: Summer Lawn Care

The time is drawing near for days filled with
children frolicking in the sprinklers and evenings spent relaxing underneath
the setting sun. That time is called summer, and the essential component to any
blissful summer activity lies directly under your feet.

Oklahoma summer lawns are both a gift and a
burden to some homeowners who want to enjoy their preferably green expanse
without the bothersome side effects we all know far too well.

When winter fades away, our yards rebound
with tenacity. They begin to grow with an almost vengeance. Our excitement may
be tested however, when those same lawns become overgrown with weeds or overrun
by the various outdoor menaces afflicting Oklahoma landscape. A battle plan
must be drawn up in order to achieve your desired lawn this summer.

There are two main grass types typically
found in local lawns, explains Andy Nelson, of the family run Edmond company,
Nelson Lawn Service. He is speaking of the Bermuda and Fescue grass types, which
most people choose to plant in their yards.

There are many choices when it comes to the
appearance of the grass and the corresponding ways to achieve success. For
those who have Bermuda and prefer their grass remains short, Nelson suggests
scalping the yard at the beginning of the season. This means cutting the grass
as low as possible.

You can mow higher or lower depending on
personal preference with either Bermuda or Fescue grass. Though, caution is
necessary to ensure you do not cut too low. “You know you’re cutting it too low
if you’re turning it yellow,” says Nelson. Cutting a Fescue lawn too short can
“burn it up pretty quick.”

Nelson also encourages people with Fescue
lawns to clean up the grass debris after they mow. “If you leave those clumps of
grass it’s going to end up suffocating the Fescue and cause it to get fungus.
It’ll kill whatever blades of grass are underneath.”

To keep your lawn healthy, Nelson emphasizes
using the proper balance of water in combination with seeding your Fescue lawn.

“A lot of people will put Fescue sod in and
never seed it in the fall and spring, and it ends up fading out. If you water
it correctly, seed it and fertilize it correctly, you can keep it thick and
plush,” says Nelson.

Though Nelson adds that Bermuda yards are
more resilient, all yards are susceptible to weeds. With spraying lawns, timing
is key. “A common misconception is whenever someone hires a pre-emergent
company to come in and spray, they wait until February or March. By then you’ve
already got weeds. They’ve germinated and they’re already starting to sprout.”
The best time for weed spraying Nelson says, is in the fall.

Nelson assures that despite missing the
opportunity in the fall, you can still get your lawn under control. He likens
the process to being prescribed medication by a doctor. “You don’t want to take
the first couple of pills and then stop because you start to feel better. You
want to take it all the way through.” He recommends six applications a year.

Another important factor to consider with
lawn care is pest control. A main problem for Oklahoma is gophers and moles,
says Brooke Britt. She and her husband, Tim own Oklahoma Termite Specialist and
have been in the business for 13 years.

Britt explains that the problem of these
animals and the havoc they bring to a yard begins with an insect. “They’re
feeding off of something in your lawn and it’s usually grub worms.” If you
treat the source of the problem, the animals are going to go somewhere else.

Another aspect that directly correlates with
summertime leisure is mosquito control. Keeping mosquitoes at bay starts with
controlling standing water, cleaning your gutters and taking control of
landscaping, says Rick Guy of The National Mosquito Directory, located in
Edmond.

“Trim back bushes that are overgrown.
Mosquitoes rest at the bottom of a plant and will wait for the cool time of the
evening to come out,” says Guy. “Deny them a place to rest. Just half an inch
of dirt in your gutter acts as sponge.”

If you have a serious mosquito problem, Guy
recommends hiring a professional to spray the resting places where mosquitoes
breed. This keeps them from laying eggs and the deadly spray will cover the
mosquitoes when they try to rest in those areas.

“Obviously you’re not going to rid the world
of all the bugs, but we can do our part in helping to control them,” Britt
says.

Proper lawn height, weed control, pest control and
landscaping are the perfect recipe for a summer lawn you’ll be sure to enjoy.
Just add water!

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