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Late Summer Lawn & Garden Tips

Lawn mowing tips from the University of Massachusetts Extension Center: "Keep mower blades sharp. Raise the blades so you are cutting at least 2 1/2 inches high. Mow whenever the grass is 1/2 to 1 inch above this cutting height. A higher mowing height leaves enough top growth to produce food for a deep root system and a neat, dense turf."

It's a good idea to apply an insecticide in July or August to your lawn for fall grub control. Leon Zapadka's recommendation is to use Merit, a systemic insectide.

Here's how it works: "Merit is a systemic insecticide, which means that the material is taken up by the root system of the plant.  As pests feed on the plant, they are ingesting your insecticide.

Using a product with systemic action means that you do not have to depend on the targeted pest to come into contact with applied products.  This action also aids in the long residual of the product because insecticides that are inside the plant and its roots cannot be harmed as much by the sun or other elements."

More information here.

Do you have Japanese beetles on your plants? Get rid of them! According to Leon, Sevin (Carbaryl) is a perfectly safe means of control. Or, you can just knock them off the plants and into a jar or can of soapy water.

This is the time of year when many of our plants (for instance, lilacs, azaleas, phlox, bee balm) look mildewed. Powdery mildew commonly affects these and other plants. It's unsightly, but it will not kill the plant. Use Daconil.

More information on powdery mildew in this UConn Cooperative Extension fact sheet.

Are your gardens and lawn getting enough water to keep them thriving? The University of Massachusetts Extension Center recommends that during hot, dry weather, trees, shrubs, and perennials need to be watered. They say, "To alleviate water stress during hot, dry weather, apply water over the root zone once or twice a week. As a rule of thumb, most plants need at least an inch of water per week for healthy growth."

Here are two good fact sheets relating to watering. The first is for lawns; the next is for your plants and trees.