The end of the summer is drawing near. Vacations are coming to an end, back-to-school shopping may have started, and everyone is gearing up for the final stretch of the summer. The landscape only has to endure this heat for a month and a half more until the cooler, fall weather arrives. To get your landscape through the last part of summer, follow these simple steps.
Apply Supplemental Turf Fertilizer if Needed
A supplemental turf fertilizer application might be needed between regularly scheduled fertilizations in May and September. Your turf needs additional nutrients when its vibrant green color starts to fade. This supplemental application should be liquid, which differs from the granular, slow-release nitrogen fertilizer used for the regularly scheduled fertilizations. The supplemental fertilizer should also be high in iron to help green up the turf.
Look Out for Oleander Caterpillars
Oleander Caterpillars, if left untreated, can cause significant damage to plants. While mostly found on Oleanders, this pest can also affect Desert Rose, Bougainvillea, Mandevilla and Natal Plum. This is the only pest of concern found for Oleander.
An infested plant begins to turn brown as the caterpillars chew the leaf tissue, which causes stress to the plant. To treat, we recommend trying a cultural control first, especially if the problem has been detected early. This entails removing larvae-infested foliage. Once removed, put the sealed bag of foliage into the freezer for 24 hours. This will kill the caterpillars. Also, it is important to wash your hands immediately after handling the Oleander’s cut foliage since it is poisonous. A pesticide treatment, preferably by a professional, should be used if the cultural method is unsuccessful or if the plant is overly infested with caterpillars. Multiple treatments might be needed since Oleander Caterpillars can have up to seven generations.
If you have areas in your plant beds with bare soil, make sure to cover it with mulch. This helps keep the soil cooler and increases moisture retention. It also provides a fresh, clean look to the landscape as well as reduces weed growth. Make sure to install the mulch at a depth of 2 to 3 inches. Also, keep the mulch away from the plant stems and tree trunks to prevent root rot.
Besides these steps, continue with weekly mowings, regular irrigation checks, and continuously monitoring your turf for pests and fungus to ensure a healthy, thriving landscape.