Lawn and Garden

 Prepare for Hot Times

The seasonal weather forecast for this summer predicts above normal temperatures. As far as hurricanes go there is a 50% chance that we will have a below normal storm season.  Prepare yourself for a long hot summer. Because of high temperatures you might expect the landscape and potted plants to dry out faster than normal. You are still restricted to two watering days a week so make sure sprinkler heads are operational and check your rain gauge after each rainfall so you tally that measurement to the desired total of one inch of irrigation per week.

Hot dry weather favors chinch bug activity in St. Augustine grass lawns. Inspect areas that are in full sun weekly, especially ones adjacent to walks and drives. The heavy rains of the past two summers seem to have kept chinch bug populations in check. Prior to that, their populations were devastating in some local lawns. If you employ a control spray for identified chinch bug damage, treat the affected spot and five feet beyond. Do not spray the entire yard for you will kill off your chinch bug predators and potentially exasperate the situation.

When working in the heat wear loose fitting clothes, wide brimmed hats, sunglasses and stay hydrated. Taking frequent rest periods is also advisable. If your pets like to join you while you are outdoors take frequent breaks for their sake. Remember they are wearing fur coats and would naturally be active at dusk and dawn not out in the middle of the day as we silly humans are. They are in the heat because they love you and want to be by your side. Show them some love in return.

In general it is predicted that our summers will be getting hotter due to global warming. Plant trees in the landscape to help cool the landscape. Trees to the south and west of the home will help derive the greatest reduction of solar radiation. The late day sun from these areas is more intense than morning sun from the east. Shading the home will also help to reduce summertime electricity consumption, which will keep your wallet happy.  Another benefit to planting trees for summer cooling is a social issue. Humans become more irritable and intolerant in hot weather.  Having a shady tree canopy over your neighborhood will help to keep everyone friendlier because of the cooler environment; plant for the future.

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