Let’s talk about some mistakes that can be made in the garden and lawn. Now that its June and we are all going to be doing a lot of lawn mowing, we need to consider the height at which you cut your grass. The healthiest height to keep your lawn during the summer 2 1/2″ to 3″ tall. This may sound long but unless you have a golf green in your yard, in which case you would keep the blades at about 1/4″, you do not want to cut your lawn that short. The reasons to keep it longer are the following. The grass is able to tolerate drought much easier, it will be more competitive against weeds, it will be able to withstand foot traffic, it will be able to compete against bugs better. Cutting the grass too short in the summer, can lead to scalping which can invite pests to gather there. Longer grass in the summer helps to shade the grass crown so not as much water is needed. As we move toward Fall you can shorten up the height and make it easier for the sun to get to the ground.
Irrigation techniques are another area where homeowners make mistakes. Many people believe that the more water the better. Unfortunately this is not true. Many homeowners actually overwater their plants and lawn. Most lawns just need about an inch of water per week. The best time to water is in the morning so the plants and lawn have all day to dry. This is especially important for plants that suffer from black spot, like roses or powdery mildew, like lilacs. The only time plants need more water is when they are first installed. They have a small root capacity when they are first planted and so they dry out quickly. Building a saucer around the plants when they are first put in helps to collect rain water or the water from irrigation and holds it in the root zone so it can soak in rather than run off. New plants should be watered once or twice per week depending upon how much rain we get and wether or not the soil is sandy or tends toward clay.
Enjoy the summer. Keep gardening.