Getting your yard ready for summer

Getting your yard ready for summer
This is the time of the year, you should get your yard summer ready. (Source: Pixabay)
Austin Lawton (Source: WALB)
Austin Lawton (Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The warmer temperatures have returned to South Georgia. Trees are budding, grass is greening, and the bugs are emerging.

Before you know it, it'll be summer.

This is the time of the year, you should get your yard summer ready. Meteorologist Chris Zelman gives you some do's and don'ts, to have your yard be the envy of the neighborhood.

Tending to trees and foliage

'Crepe murder' has most likely already occurred in your neighborhood. Hacking this summer flowering tree is a tradition.

The idea is to prune 12" to 18" to shape and promote flowering. Unfortunately, many cut major branches or cut in the same place each year.

This ends up producing fewer flowers and turns to an unsightly stick with leaves. It would be better to just leave the tree alone or deadhead last year's bloom. Deadheading means to remove the spent bloom.

This works with many summer bloomers, from sun-loving knock-out roses to shade-loving hydrangeas.

Fertilizing the soil

Record February warmth may have had you thinking it might be time to fertilize. Actually, you're about a month away.

"You want to wait until the soil temperatures are around 65 degrees. Normally that happens in mid-April," said Austin Lawton, ABAC Golf Course Superintendent.

Otherwise, you are just throwing your money away, and feeding the cool season weeds. Another mistake people make is overfeeding their grass to get a lush green centipede lawn.

"The key on fertilizing centipede, it does not require as much fertilizer as that of other types, like Bermuda," said Lawton.

The bright green color is not natural for a centipede lawn and may actually lead to disease.

You should, however, treat for weeds now.

"Now is the time to pre-emerge for summer weed. If you cannot afford to pre-emerge, they are expensive, wait for the weeds to emerge and then treat them with a postemergence herbicide during the Summer. It is best to pre-emerge your yard with a preemergence herbicide," said Lawton.

When you do fertilize, make sure to read the directions. Weed and feed requires watering after application, but plain fertilizer does not. Another trick that could work is to lower the spread recommendation by one, and do a criss-cross pattern. This ensures an even coverage without dark green stripes.

Tips on mowing and watering

"Usually your lawn requires about of inch of rainfall per week," said Lawton.

Our springs tend to be dry here, so you'll probably have to water.

"We use the term, deep and infrequent," said Lawton.

The more you feed and water the faster the grass will grow. Proper and regular mowing is key.

"Mow one-third of the leaf, about once a week," said Lawton.

You finally have your grass looking good, but then big dirt mounds start to emerge: Fire ants.

Fire ant baits can keep them away for a while, but there is a better product out there.

"It's called Tauras SC. The active ingredient is phyprenyl, and it is the best way to treat for fire ants and other insect pests," said Lawton.

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