Pretty much everyone agrees: Summer 2013 was one of the nicest southwestern Ohio has seen. In addition to enjoying the great outdoors more, our lawns and landscaping have never been healthier — and prettier.
“Instead of just maintaining, this has been a summer of progress with people planting all season long,” says John Scott of Knollwood Garden Center on Dayton-Xenia Road in Dayton. “The pleasant weather has seen people adding new landscaping elements and creating new beds. Even July was moist and semi-cool, resulting in a lot less stress on gardens and gardeners.”
August is an especially smart time to take an honest look around your lawn and landscaping to see what could use some TLC.
“You should always cut your grass high, leaving it 3 or 4 inches tall. That’s especially important when temperatures are high such as on hot August days,” says Andrew Baker of Lawn Impressions LLC, located in Springboro. “A good height helps the grass hold moisture and resist weeds.”
Speaking of moisture, Pete Kossoudji of North Dayton Garden Center and Nursery on Brandt Pike in Dayton strongly advises watering as needed to keep your grass green in August. “If you don’t, you’ll spend more money trying to rejuvenate it back to a healthy lawn,” he warns.
Baker says now’s the time to plan the extras a lawn needs. “The end of August is a good time to aerate your lawn,” he recommends, referring to the process of removing small soil plugs out of the lawn, usually done with a mechanical aerator. “This process increases water and nutrient movement in the soil and should be done once a year.”
Check for bare spots that need new grass and mark your calendar to seed in September, which is also a good time to use a weed control product on the lawn.
Right now, look for drooping plants and shrubs if too many August days go by without rain.
“Also, for new and established plants, treat them to a liquid fertilizer this month,” Scott recommends.
August is a good time for planting as long as you’re committed to keeping the new additions watered. “You can plant trees, shrubs, perennials — just about anything but bulbs,” Kossoudji says.
“Why should spring have all the fun?” says Scott. “Planting during the period of mid-August to the beginning of October means roots have time to get established. With many plants, you’ll have color this spring.”
Evaluate your great outdoors to spot areas that need “interest.” Walk around the neighborhood to see what’s working well in other people’s landscaping; check magazines, books and the internet for terrific ideas. Best of all, the many local garden centers are full of good-for-this-area ideas for adding color, height and character to your landscaping.
Adding a tree in August can pay off year after year in beauty — and energy savings.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, carefully-positioned trees can save up to 25 percent of the energy a typical household uses for cooling. In fact, just shading your air conditioner unit can increase its efficiency by as much as 10 percent, the department reports.
Some bushes, trees or shrubs might look like they need pruning but knowing when to prune is a tricky business. “As a general rule, you should trim two-three weeks after a shrub or tree has bloomed. But if you missed that time, call a nursery to ask advice about pruning that particular plant,” Scott says.