OPEI issues summer survival tips

Lawns and landscapes can take a beating in the summer as temperatures heat up for long periods of time. And, in some areas of the country, drought conditions add to the stress hot weather puts on plants in yards and other recreational areas. The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) has issued several simple steps, which may be useful to your customers, to keep grass, gardens, other plants and shrubs in good shape over the summer as families weather the “dog days” of summer.

“The most important decision in any yard or landscape is to place the right plant in the right spot and give it the appropriate level of care,” said Kris Kiser, executive vice president, OPEI. “If you keep in mind your climate zone, most plants and grass can withstand summer heat and drought.”

Added Kiser, “Intense summer conditions can sometimes prompt people to go overboard on watering or fertilizing to keep plants alive. But, there are some other simple steps to keep in mind before and during summer to keep yards and other areas healthy.”

According to OPEI, follow the checklist below to help your lawns and landscapes better weather the summer season:

Avoid excessive watering. But, if you need to water, make sure to water deeply and only in the early morning hours. When it comes to grass, let it go dormant. Although it will turn brown, grass will green up nicely with cooler weather in the fall.
Water smarter. Use drip irrigation, soaker hoses or new, smart controller technology to decide when and how much you water your plants. Consider using rain barrels to recycle water for irrigation and watering your garden.
Cut grass high and collect grass clippings. You may not be cutting your lawn as much in summer, but when you do, make sure the blade is sharp and you cut the grass no shorter than three inches. Taller blades of grass provide shade for the soil and roots. Also remember, grass clippings can be collected for mulch or the compost, and deliver valuable nutrients back into the soil when left on top.
Choose the right variety of grass. It is important to grow the right grass for your area and work in composted plant matter for healthy soil.
Do not over fertilize. Generally, fertilizing in the summer is not a good idea. That should have been done in the spring during cooler weather. Limit fertilizing to the fall months, when fewer rainstorms wash off fertilizer. Remember, compost or grass clippings make a good, organic fertilizer.
Prune correctly. Some shrubs will need summer pruning, after they complete their flowering. Pruning keeps them in good health and ready for the next season. Visit your state extension Web site for pruning guides.

According to Kiser, “Ultimately, summer is the time to decide what is working — and not working — in your yard.” He offered questions that homeowners should ask themselves: Do you need to overseed with a drought-resistant grass this fall to help your lawn withstand the heat? Should you group thirsty plants closer together so that you can water more efficiently?

Also, visit your county or state extension office for some tips.

Other media articles on healthy yards include:

Can You Be Green and Have a Green Lawn? By Brian Palmer, June 20, 2011
Lawns can Complement Gardens in More Ways Than Beauty by Barbara Damrosch, June 22, 2011
Mowing Tips for Healthy Lawns March 2009

About the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) is an international trade association representing manufacturers worldwide in the utility, forestry, landscape, and lawn and garden industry, whose mission is to bring awareness to the importance of environmental stewardship; an appreciation of the outdoors; and how to grow, restore and maintain our everyday green spaces in a responsible way. OPEI is a recognized Standards Development Organization for the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and active internationally through the International Standards Organization (ISO) in the development of safety standards. For more information, visit www.OPEI.org.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *