MEMPHIS, Tenn., Sept. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- As a majority of U.S. counties face a historic drought and above-normal temperatures, the Central Plains region's lawns and landscapes continue to show signs of drought stress, while homeowners are left wondering how to salvage their outdoor green spaces. Remnants from Hurricane Isaac may bring much needed rainfall and relief from the 2012 extended drought. TruGreen, the nation's largest professional lawn care service provider and a subsidiary of The ServiceMaster Company, recommends some helpful tips for homeowners to address drought impact and maintain the health of their lawns and landscapes during imposed watering restrictions.
What You Can Do
Irrigation Efficiency: Ensure sprinkler heads and related water lines are working properly and that the irrigation system provides sufficient coverage. Low water pressure will affect coverage.
Water Restrictions Awareness: Become familiar with any local watering restrictions related to yards. Light watering too often is not as effective as a slow, thorough watering (about one inch) once or twice a week, optimally in the early morning. To ensure uniform coverage, consider placing a few empty one-inch deep food cans in the sprinkler pattern to measure the amount of water collected after each watering cycle. Adjust watering times and cycles if needed to provide for one inch of water.
Pest Problems: Inspect drought-sensitive plants and grasses. Although mature trees and many warm season grasses will tolerate drought, other cool season grasses may not. Undiagnosed infestation of lawn insects and build up of mites and insects on shrubs can also enhance the risk of plants' susceptibility to further decline from drought conditions. Ask a lawn care professional to assist in diagnosing plants for drought damage versus insect damage.
Feed: Lawns, trees and shrubs require proper nutrition to encourage healthy growth and the ability to recover from drought damage. Having enough residual nutrients in the soil will help jump start plant growth. Use a trained professional company with a tree and shrub plan, such as TruGreen, that offers customized solutions to lawn and landscape problems based on the specific needs of the homeowner's region.
Mowing Schedule: Mow grass as needed and not as a scheduled weekly chore. Avoid mowing in the heat of day or if the lawn is extremely dry to allow the lawn to bounce back during the cooler temperatures of night. To help promote moisture retention and to prevent shock, disease and insects, do not cut more than one-third of the grass leaf blade and mow at the highest recommended height for your grass type.
Mulch: Return grass clippings back to the soil for added lawn nutrients and natural lawn care. Apply three inches of mulch to the base of shrubs and trees to help conserve soil moisture and to reduce weed pressure, but be mindful not to cover the trunk flare of the tree base.
According to Ben Hamza, Ph.D., director of technical operations at TruGreen, drought-stressed lawns are more susceptible to insect damage and weed invasion.
"We're encouraging homeowners to be pay close attention to the changing health of their lawns and landscapes. Brown spots on lawns may not always be from lack of water or nutrients, but instead from insects that can mimic drought damage on select grass types," Hamza said. "Following your customized lawn care plan and routine watering are essential during dry conditions."
Nation Experiencing Explosion of Weeds
Hamza also shared that TruGreen's trained specialists are now seeing a greening up of lawns in some U.S. drought-stricken regions, such as the North, East, Southeast and Midwest, and a variety of weeds are fighting turfgrass for space.
"TruGreen regularly monitors U.S. weather data to enable the company's trained lawn care specialists to effectively address local agronomic conditions while promoting responsible water conservation. We are noticing that select U.S. regions are experiencing an explosion of weeds due to the combination of extended heat and recent light rainfall," Hamza said. "TruGreen specialists are effectively addressing lawn nutrient needs, seeding and weed invasion in these regions that just weeks ago were facing lack of rainfall and dormant grass."
The TruGreen Healthy Lawn Plan includes protection against lawn-feeding pests, the use of a time-release formula to gradually feed important nutrients to the lawn, and ongoing customized lawn care. TruGreen's specialized lawn services are designed to specifically meet your lawn's needs throughout the year based on climate, grass type, soil condition and usage.
Memphis-based TruGreen is the nation's largest lawn care company, serving more than 2.5 million residential and commercial customers across the United States with lawn, tree and shrub care. As the industry leader, TruGreen continues to pioneer the development of new technology for lawn care and devotes substantial resources to evaluate new products and equipment. The company is committed to responsible lawn care, including offering and promoting the use of natural services and sustainable practices. Today, there are approximately 250 TruGreen branches in the United States and Canada, including about 50 franchise locations. TruGreen is a subsidiary of The ServiceMaster Company, one of the world's largest residential and commercial service networks. The company's brands include Terminix, TruGreen, American Home Shield, ServiceMaster Clean, Merry Maids, Furniture Medic and AmeriSpec. Go to http://www.TruGreen.com or http://www.facebook.com/TruGreen for more information about TruGreen.
With a global network of more than 6,900 company-owned, franchise and licensed locations, Memphis-based ServiceMaster is one of the world's largest residential and commercial service networks. The company's high-profile brands are Terminix, TruGreen, American Home Shield, ServiceMaster Clean, Merry Maids, Furniture Medic and AmeriSpec. Through approximately 21,000 corporate associates and a franchise network that independently employs over 31,000 additional people, the ServiceMaster family of brands serves more than 8.4 million customers every year. Our market-leading brands provide a range of residential and commercial services including termite and pest control; lawn, tree and shrub care; home warranties and preventative maintenance contracts; furniture repair; home inspections; home cleaning; janitorial services; and disaster restoration. Go to www.servicemaster.com for more information about ServiceMaster or follow us at twitter.com/ServiceMaster or facebook.com/TheServiceMasterCo.