The Essential Tips Of A Thriving Lawn And Landscape During The Summer Months

Posted on | July 4, 2014 | No Comments

Summer is the time for outdoor living. But keeping our outdoor spaces beautiful for the summer and beyond requires a good measure of behind-the-scenes maintenance. To find what we should be doing during the summer months to help our landscapes thrive, North Carolina Design looked to Carole Joyner, of Joyner-Benfield Distinctive Land and Waterscapes in Charlotte. Carole has more than 30 years of experience designing, building and installing some of Charlotte’s finest and most beautiful landscapes, and she knows everything there is to know about summer plant care and maintenance in the Carolinas.

Images Courtesy of Joyner Benfield Distinctive Land & Waterscapes ©

According to Carole, summer is the time to fish out the pruning shears. “This is an excellent time of year to prune almost all small trees and shrubs” she advises. “All plants should be selectively pruned – no head shears. Summer-blooming plants can be pruned by selectively cutting some of the blooms and foliage back, in the same way you would if you were creating a flower arrangement.”

When it comes to trees, shrubs and flowers, fertilizing is an essential summer task. “Once you have pruned, you need to fertilize,” Carole affirms. “For evergreens and spring-blooming plants, use any good fertilizer that’s high in nitrogen to promote green growth. Summer-blooming perennials, annuals and herbs should be fertilized every two to three weeks during the summer with a fertilizer high in phosphorous, which promotes blooms.”

Carole offers important tips to avoid over or under-watering your plants during summer. “When the temperature is in the 90′s, plants should be watered twice a week during any week in which it does not rain,” she notes. “It’s very important to manually operate your irrigation system. There is no constant rule to follow – everybody has to individually figure out an irrigation plan based on the types of plants they have, the available shade, and the different planting zones in their landscape.”

The North Carolina summer heat makes many homeowners hesitant to plant new additions, but Carole tells us that those fears are unfounded. “You can definitely plant in the summer, as long as you will be home and able to properly control irrigation,” she says. “In fact, this is an excellent time to plant, because you’re going to get a lot of good growth from now until the plants go dormant in the fall.”

If you’re tempted to use extra fertilizer to help your lawn stay green, you may want to reconsider. “You don’t want to add a lot of fertilizer to your lawn during the summer because it’s too stressful on your grass,” Carole explains. “You want to do a light layer of fertilizer in June. Then you can come back at the end of July and add an application of Ironite. That will help green it up for a little while.”

When it comes to watering the lawn, Carole advises homeowners to do so two times a week when temperatures are in the 80s and three times a week when they are in the 90′s, providing that it doesn’t rain. “The best time to water is at 5:00 in the morning,” she notes. “Don’t water in the afternoon.”

Summer lawns do need some extra TLC. “Cut your grass in a different direction every week, and bag or blow off your clippings,” Carole advises. “Lawn clippings can build up and choke out the roots of your lawn. Also, it’s really important to put lime down in your lawn in July. The soil in North Carolina – especially in the Piedmont region – is highly acidic, which prevents the nitrogen in fertilizer from releasing. Lime neutralizes the soil, so that when you apply fertilizer in the fall you’ll get the best effects.”

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