Meteorologists at The Weather Channel predicted a “warmer than average” summer for the southeastern U.S., and so far they’ve been right! While we can take respite in the pool or air conditioning, your landscape has to endure the elements 24/7. Here are some interesting facts and handy tips on how to help your landscape survive the summer heat.
Not all areas in your landscape need the same amount of water. Want to reduce the heat stress on your landscape, but also want to avoid financial stress when you get your water bill? Consider that some areas of your landscape need less water than others. You may be able to reduce the watering frequency for drought-tolerant ground cover plants, ornamental grasses, shrubs and flowers.
Here’s a list of common draught-tolerant plans here in Georgia:
Ground Covers: spreading junipers, liriope, Asiatic jasmine, Carolina jasmine, trumpet creeper, day lilies and creeping raspberry. like ‘Blue Rug’, ‘Sargents’, ‘Prince of Wales’ or ‘Blue pacific’
Shrubs: dwarf yaupon holly, Indian hawthorn, dwarf crepe myrtle, glossy abelia and ‘Miss Huff’ lantana. And don’t forget the ornamental grasses, including maiden grass, fountain grass and Japanese silver grass
Flowers: sedum, verbena, Purple Heart, gaura, wave petunias, and ‘New Gold’ lantana
Ornamental grasses are tough as nails and are unaffected by drought conditions (this is a direct quote from the University of Georgia’s Center for Urban Agriculture)
Reducing the frequency of watering may actually benefit your landscape. It’s better to water deeply and less frequently, rather than giving your landscape less water on a more frequent basis. The deeper watering method encourages better root growth.
Those old newspapers can become an additional protective barrier. Everyone knows that pine straw, pine bark or shredded wood mulch helps slow the evaporation process. But if you’d like to add an extra layer of protection, consider adding a layer of old newspaper between the dirt and mulch. Simply use a rake to gently pull back your existing mulch, wet or dip newspapers in water and then spread papers (two sheets thick) on the ground. Put the mulch back over the newspaper to conceal the newspaper and hold it in place. Not only does newspaper help the soil retain moisture, but it also adds organic matter to the soil as it slowly decomposes. This method is both inexpensive and effective.
Don’t panic if your grass turns brown, it may just be dormant. If grass receives sufficient moisture, growth slows but the blades remain green. During prolonged periods of hot, dry conditions, both cool- and warm-season grasses can go dormant and turn brown as a self-preservation measure. If your grass goes dormant, don’t water it unless you plan to continue irrigation throughout the rest of the summer, as the shifts in and out of dormancy create additional stress on the turf. The exception to this rule: Don’t let newly established lawns go without water. With a limited root system, a new lawn might not survive dormancy.
Smart home technology extends outside with WiFi-enabled sprinklers. The general rule of thumb is to give your landscape one inch of water every week, and WiFi-enabled irrigation systems are making it easier than ever to manage your landscape from any location. Click here to see our recommendation for the best WiFi-enabled sprinkler for metro Atlanta residents.
Stressed about how your landscape is coping with the summer heat? Handy Andy Outdoors’ clients can rest assured that we’re keeping an eye on your landscape, and we will proactively contact you if your lawn is showing signs of stress due to over or under watering.