As weather warms, pay attention to water needs of garden

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With summer heat comes the need to water properly, so remember to water twice a week when we do not get a good rainfall.

Always water in the morning and apply a half-inch per application. Watering late in the day invites disease problems, though we cannot do anything about Mother Nature watering late in the day.

Over-watering creates a shallow root system in your lawn and keeps it under stress more often.

If you do see things needing water, apply water the next morning, as the plants will not die overnight.

One disease problem we see on lawns is brown patch, which starts out as a small circular pattern about the size of a dinner plate and it spreads outward. If you see this problem occurring, treat the area with a fungicide.

Another problem that occurs at this time is mole crickets. They are hatching now and will need to be controlled so they do not damage your lawn and weaken it. They do this by eating the fine root hairs that take up water and nutrients.

If you have a mole cricket problem, you will need to treat with an insecticide. To keep from attracting mole crickets in the first place, turn off outdoor lights at night, as light attracts them.

If you have a street light in your yard or nearby, this will probably be the first area infected by mole crickets. Look for runs that are no higher than a pencil or pen; you might also see pop-ups of soil that look like plugs of soil. If you touch them, they fall apart to nothing. These are signs of mole cricket activity.

If you see piles of soil that are piled and look like little balls glued together and break up into small chunks, they are earthworm castings and are no problem.

Now is the time to fertilize your shrubs for the last fertilization of the year. Apply one tablespoonful per foot height or one-third cup per 10 square feet of bed and water in.

Scatter the fertilizer around the drip line of the shrubs. Note that you do not have to remove the mulch when fertilizing.

One last item: Now is the last call to prune your azaleas, as they will start setting flower blooms starting in July.

Edward Poenicke is a retired Chatham County extension agent. This article is provided in collaboration with Lawn Doctor of Beaufort County.

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