Time to focus on taking good care of the lawn

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It's the time of year that lawn care becomes a priority. Remember to water twice a week if we do not get rain regularly.

Over watering or shallow watering the lawn, shrubs and plant beds creates more stress than benefit.

Make sure you water in the morning to allow the moisture to dry off during the day. This will prevent opportunities for fungus to develop, which can occur by watering later in the afternoon or evening.

Mulching the plant beds to a depth of 3 to 4 inches help conserve moisture and reduces weed competition.

With the grass starting to grow you might consider applying more fertilizer towards the end of the month to keep the grass growing on an even keel. Use something with a low nitrogen (1 percent or less) and use less than your initial fertilization.

Keep mowing at the proper height for the type of lawn you have. Mow Bermuda at 1 to 11⁄2 inches high, Centipede and Zoysia at 11⁄2 to 2 inches high, and St. Augustine at 3 to 4 inches high.

Mowing at the proper height helps the grass keep growing strongly and not thinning out. This also reduces weed growth, as the sunlight does not hit the ground and allow weed seeds to germinate.

You might start to see signs of insect activity in your lawn, so consider treating for these insects before they cause a problem.

One of these problems will be mole crickets that start hatching toward the end of the month and in the next couple of months.

You might also have grubs eating the roots of your grass and weakening the lawn.

Another problem can be Brown Patch fungus, especially if we are getting a lot of rain in the evening hours, or if you had this problem last fall as the grass was going dormant.

If you start to see brownish circular patterns - about the size of a dinner plate - starting to form, you will need to treat with a fungicide to control the problem.

You should be finishing planting any containers or hanging baskets with flowers you want to add to your patio, stairs, porch or pool areas.

By planting a few extra containers, you can swap them with containers that start to look bad later, or just change up the design you might have in an area.

By now, most perennials should be out in nurseries, so you can finish planting them into your garden to add color later in the growing season.

You will need to apply a light fertilization this month to keep the plants growing and producing blooms.

Apply 1 tablespoon per 10 square feet or one-third cup per 100 square feet of bed and water in.

To keep annuals blooming all summer, make sure you prune off the dying blooms regularly so the plant does not think it has done its job of germinating, flowering, producing seed and then dying.

You can also start to plant more zinnias or marigolds every couple of weeks to keep a source of cut flowers coming on a regular rotation.

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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