Caring for your Lawn and Landscape Heat and Drought Stress, What to do…. According to the Universities which we rely upon for our horticultural information and recommendations Cornell, Amherst UMass, Yukon, Connecticut, Rutgers, New Jersey, This has been the driest, hottest three month period in over one hundred years! Talk about stress… we have not even seen the beginning of the effect on our plants and landscapes. Even if you have a highly functioning irrigation system and a decent amount of shade to help cool the soil surface and reduce evapotranspiration, your plants are being exposed to a prolonged period of weather which is in no way conducive to health and happiness. Aside from sun scalding, lack of water, diseases and insect pests…they have not gotten a break, a reprieve from the stress associated with prolonged drought and heat. One of the problems is the root zone has not been allowed to cool. Most of our landscape plants, especially new plantings, have shallow root systems. The water table in most places is very low. We desperately need a weeks worth of drenching rain! Doesn’t look like we are going to get it! Most of our landscapes are not designed for this kind of weather environment. We are absolutely in emergency rescue and recovery mode ! Most evergreens, for instance, won’t show signs of stress until it’s to late to save them. Many of our lawns are in need of repair and/or renovation. Be proactive. Do something to help before it’s to late. Conserving resources starts with protecting what we already have. What to do: Water you landscape deeply. Run irrigation or manual sprinklers or both for one hour per area every three to four days. Best time to do that and avoid feeding fungus during periods of high humidity is early morning between the hours of 5-9 am. Properly prune trees and shrubs, not in the heat of the day, reducing the surface areas and strengthening plants. Mulch if necessary to cool the soil and retain moisture. Do not cultivate the soil, or let your gardening or lawn service provider cultivate the soil around perennials, trees and shrubs. Exposing the fragile roots further stresses the plants. Remove excess thatch or dead grass layers from your lawn. There is never a better time to Go Green… Sustainably Organic… Mow your lawn high or skip it. Use bio-stimulants instead of high nitrogen, salt based, synthetic fertilizers. Use Yucca to make the water wetter ! Do soil test so you can adjust ph and correct deficiencies in the soil. Applying natural source organics or earth products now will help plants recover and strengthen their immune systems. This will lead to more beautiful, healthy plants and landscapes. Take a break, enjoy life!