Middle South

July, 2006
Regional Report

Water Lawns Properly

If nature doesn't provide adequate rainfall, you may need to water your lawn. Water thoroughly, wetting the soil to a depth of 5 or 6 inches, then don't water again for at least a week. Deep, infrequent watering encourages deep roots that are more resistant to drought. Note that no matter what you do, cool-season grasses may go dormant during hot summer weather.

Ignore Mushrooms

If you see mushrooms growing in your lawn, don't panic. They are nature's decomposers, breaking down organic matter and adding humus to the soil. They often indicate the location of a buried root or stump, and you're likely to get more mushrooms until the organic matter is exhausted. If they bother you, simply dislodge them. Don't bother applying fungicides or any other spray; it won't affect the mushrooms and it may harm beneficial organisms.

Control Mosquitoes

Minimize mosquito breeding areas by dumping all sources of standing water. These include buckets, plant saucers, and old tires. Change the water in pet bowls and birdbaths every few days, and use mosquito dunks that contain the biological control Bt in ponds.

Pamper Container Plantings

Container-grown vegetables and flowers dry out quickly in hot summer sun. If the soil dries out so much that it shrinks back from the edge of the pot, you may need to place the pot in a container of water and let the soil reabsorb the water slowly through the drainage holes. If you find you can't keep up with watering your containers, consider transplanting them into larger pots that hold more soil. Also, pots made from nonporous materials, such as plastic and glazed ceramic, conserve water better than porous clay pots.

Prune Back to Renew Annuals

Prune back tired annuals by about half and fertilize them. You'll likely get a second flush of blooms once they've regained their strength. If they are in containers, you can move them to an out-of-the-way spot until they regain their full glory.

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