True North Times – July 2011 – The EXTREME Heat Issue

From The Landscaper

Howdy folks!  It’s been a long time since our last issue, & has really felt ‘non stop’ around here since the ice storm in February.  Can someone tell me what’s with this ‘all or nothing’ weather pattern?  It’s eerily reminiscent of what we experienced last year, excessively wet spring, extremely hot/dry summer.  In this issue, I want to share some information with what’s been happening in our company, with the weather, & things you can do to care for your lawn and landscaping!  But first, allow us to brag a little about our…

Project of the Month

Back in March we were contacted by a company called US Water Services out of Minnesota.  They had an Ethanol Convention coming up at the end of June in Indianapolis, & they wanted to attract people to their display & ‘blow the doors off’ the competition.  All they knew is they wanted corn, water, & a rural Indiana look.  Oh yeah, you only have 1 weekend to build it as well.  Please see pictures below.  We incorporated a 2 dimensional barn structure (kudos to McGuire Scenic), a bunch of corn (kudos to Dave Maroney of Ladoga, IN), a stream, pond, lots of stone & plants.  Long story short, we built it, they won ‘Best of Show’, then we tore it all down in 1 long Wednesday night!  KUDOS to the True North Team for pulling this off in 1 long Saturday & Sunday of extreme building effort!!!

US Water Services Before and After

The Team That Made it All Possible

Re-Cap

We’ve discussed this in past issues, but it’s worth mentioning again as it’s still an issue and a challenge.  Last year we experienced what many considered to be a 100 year drought.  The faucet went off in early July & didn’t get opened back up until Thanksgiving.  We then essentially went straight into a long, hard winter.  Plants & turf that went into winter was for the most part either stressed, or in many cases, dead.

This March -May, as weather would allow, we were renovating a lot of turf (aerating/overseeding/slit-seeding), and pulling out/replacing dead trees and shrubs, evergreens in particular.  But we are still not out of the woods!  We have been receiving many calls from people saying that trees that were looking good this spring have now lost or are losing leaves.  In many cases, this is still a symptom of the stress from LAST year, not necessarily from the heat & dry as of late, although this latest spell may be accentuating the issue.  Now unfortunately, our poor lawns just can’t get a break.  Many non-irrigated properties are going dormant already, & our mowing crews are having to skip many properties.  So all in all, it’s been a very difficult pattern to adapt to for working, and very difficult on plant material.

TURF

As mentioned above, turf is stressed!  The excessively wet spring followed by hot humid weather is a perfect recipe for a wide array of fungus in turf (brown, patchy, rusty & even sometimes grey looking spots & areas).  Now of course, we’re being faced with the issue once again of not enough (ie. no) rain!  Turf is really an amazing plant & can go a long time without significant water.  If you are able, watering long & deeply 2-3X per week in the mornings will go a long way in keeping your lawn somewhat green & alive looking.  Also, you may want to be thinking already about the importance of heavy aeration/overseeding in September/early October.

Plants

We’re talking trees, shrubs, & perennials here now, not corn or soybeans!  I’m sorry for a lot of the farmers out there that had to re-seed 2-3x due to the wet weather just to get their crops in.  We sold & installed A LOT of the above mentioned from May on, & continue to do so.  I recently heard a great saying from a Client of ours, which does a good job of summing up in laymans terms what plants do… ‘SLEEP, CREEP, LEAP’.  The 1st season in the ground, plantsSLEEP.  They’re shocked either from the dig (in the case of field dug balled & burlapped plants) or from being pulled from the pots they’ve grown up in, having their roots pulled & slashed, & being put in a new home (your yard!).  This is a critical year for adequate watering.  You don’t want bone dry, & you don’t want sloppy, muddy wet.  Cool, moist conditions are what most plants are looking for & needing.  The 2nd season, they begin to CREEP as they put out their horizontal roots & begin establishing themselves, this is still a critical year for watering & attention to them!  Miracle Grow in the feeder packets from Lowes that you can simply thread on to your garden hose is a GREAT & simple thing you can do a few times/season to help your plants out.  By season 3, they should be well established & will begin to LEAP.  This is often the year you will see amazing growth on trees in particular.  So remember, don’t neglect your plants, they need your help!  Just like an infant, baby them along, & by year 3 they’ll be just like teenagers that act like they don’t need you anymore!

Hope you are having a great summer, stay cool if you can, be safe, and talk to you soon!!!

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