Suffering lawns _ Lawn grasses are undergoing some of the problems other plants have been experiencing from being too wet too long earlier in the growing season.
"It was too much of a good thing," said Rodney St. John, turf specialist at K-State. "To do their job, all plant roots need oxygen. But waterlogged soils no longer have room for tiny pockets of air. So, if roots stay soaking wet too long, they start to drown from the bottom up. Lawns struggle and may even die.
"By mid-June, excessive soil moisture had already shortened the roots of tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass. Then the weather turned hot and dry. Those lawn grasses didn't have enough of a root system to keep themselves cool, much less maintain an adequate water supply for the plant. When the top soil dried out, those roots also couldn't reach to get moisture from deeper down."
To make matters worse, insects and diseases are more likely to harm grasses that are thus weakened, and weeds move in.
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"When heat and/or drought set in, lawns may need more frequent watering to avoid damage or death this summer," St. John said. "In years of more average rainfall, K-State's typical advice helps head off the problems we're facing now: Water deeply and infrequently, encouraging turf to develop deep roots. And, let the surface dry slightly between waterings, allowing air to move deeper into the soil."
Planting calendar — Plant plants of broccoli and cauliflower; sow seeds of carrots and beets.
Peony measles — The weather this summer has caused many peonies to come down with the "measles," Upham says. "This is a disease, also known as red spot, that causes distinct, reddish-purple spots on the upper leaf surfaces," he says. "These spots often coalesce and become large, reddish-purple blotches on the upper leaf surfaces but are a light brown color when viewed from the underside of the leaves. The spots on stems will merge and form streaks that are reddish brown.
"Sanitation is the best control for this disease. Remove all diseased tissue, including stems, at the end of the growing season. Mulch that contains plant debris should also be discarded and then replaced with fresh mulch."
Tuesdays on the Terrace —Vinca and Vodka Lemonades is the theme of this week's Tuesday on the Terrace at Botanica. Cocktails will be served, and the Jared Brickman Trio will perform on the terrace from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. The gardens are open until 8. The happening is included in Botanica admission or membership.
Pond & Lawn Series — The Extension Service will offer a two-part class for homeowners who live in neighborhoods with community or stormwater retention ponds on Aug. 3 and Aug. 10. The first part will focus on a pond management plan, and the second on having a healthy lawn around a pond. The cost is $5 for one or both nights. Hours will be 7 to 8:30 p.m. Register by Aug. 1 by calling 316-660-0100.
Master gardener recruitment open house — Anyone interested in applying for the fall master gardener class is encouraged to attend an open house at 10 a.m. Aug. 3 at the Extension Center, 21st and Ridge Road. Candidates must be able to attend daytime training on Thursdays from Sept. 23 to Dec. 9 and volunteer 48 hours a year. Cost for the class is $100. Applications must be submitted by Aug. 13. For more information, contact Angie Norris at 316-660-0138.
Iris sale — The Wichita Area Iris Club will have its annual sale from 7 a.m. to noon today in the Bison room at the Sedgwick County Extension Center in conjunction with Tomato Day and from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday in the lobby at Botanica.