What do you think when you hear that the City Council will consider fining people $1,000 a month for using the amount of water “it would take to keep a lawn alive”?
Memorial Day weekend is a good time to take stock of how the lawn and garden are doing heading into summer. Rain is in the forecast, taking the edge off of proposed watering restrictions, at least for the moment (see accompanying story). Temperatures have moderated, so it doesn’t feel exactly like summer yet.
But we’ve had enough of a taste of heat that we know we could be turning the corner any day. And we need to be ready, especially if watering restrictions are imposed. With that and the holiday in mind, here are some things to do this last week of May:
Lay down a layer of organic mulch (not rocks) that is 2 inches deep (if the pieces are coarse, it can be a bit deeper). You can even use grass clippings as long as the clippings have been allowed to dry for several days and have not been treated with herbicides. You also can put newspaper or grass clippings down and then cover them with a shallower layer of a more ornamental mulch to save money.
Keep an eye on the mulch through the season and replenish as necessary; finer-particled mulch breaks down faster than coarse mulch. But in doing so, it does improve the soil below.
If rainy, humid weather continues, fescue lawns could start having brown patch in the next few weeks.
Recommended mowing heights for turfgrass are 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches for tall fescue, 1 to 2 inches for Bermuda and zoysia, and 2 to 3 inches for buffalo. The mowing height is the height you want the grass to be after you have cut the grass. That makes Bermuda the easiest when it comes to the one-third rule: You cut it when it is 3 inches tall and mow it down to 2 inches, she said. When it reaches 3 inches again, you repeat.
If the lawn has grown too tall to remove only a third of the blade, mow it and bag it. Or raise the mower height as high as you can and mulch-mow the grass, then mow again the same day or the next day at a lower height to get back to the normal standards.