MEMPHIS, Tenn., July 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Above-normal temperatures, combined with record lack of rainfall across the southern United States, is creating extreme stress on lawns, trees and shrubs. Soil moisture and city reservoirs could take months to recover, prompting many communities to restrict watering of lawns and landscapes. TruGreen, the nation's largest professional lawn care service, 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.
Moderate to extreme drought is making headlines from Florida, across the Carolinas, and west to the Southern Rockies and Texas. Although drought can be brutal on lawns, trees and shrubs, John Crossmock, director of technical training and support for TruGreen, encourages homeowners not to give up on their outdoor living rooms.
"TruGreen's certified specialists are collaborating with homeowners to address drought impact on yards, such as treating for damaging insects that tend to prey on drought-stricken lawns," Crossmock said. "We're encouraging homeowners to be aware of local water restrictions, focus on effective irrigation, and pay close attention to the changing health of their lawns and landscapes."
Dry Lone Star State
Most of Texas is being hard hit with extreme drought conditions. Ed Solon, TruGreen's region technical manager for Texas and Oklahoma, says local water restrictions and a record dry spell are having detrimental effects on plants with shallow roots.
"Signs of typical wear and tear on yards this time of year are amplified when lawns are stressed," Solon said. "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. Homeowners need to have a clear understanding of the source of the yard problem to effectively resolve."
Sunshine State Heats Up
Texas residents are not alone in dealing with drought damage. Floridians have seen lakes dry up this season, triggering select communities to promote water conservation practices. Erica Santella, TruGreen's region technical manager for Florida, advises homeowners to inspect their irrigation system to maximize water conservation.
"TruGreen specialists too often see irrigation systems with broken heads turn into water fountains," Santella said. "We all need to be mindful of responsible lawn and landscape irrigation to promote conservation while maintaining yard health in summer."
TruGreen is helping homeowners address drought impact, including offering several simple tips to help maintain the health of their lawns and landscapes during imposed watering restrictions.
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 southern grasses will tolerate drought, others 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 versus insect damage.
Feed: Lawns, trees and shrubs require proper nutrition to encourage healthy growth and the ability to recover from drought damage. Use a trained professional company, 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. Apply three inches of organic mulch to 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.
TruGreen's customized approach to lawn and landscape care is delivered by TruGreen certified specialists trained in weather and growing conditions specific to a homeowner's area. TruGreen specialists deploy the latest innovative technologies, such as tree injection technology, to effectively treat nutrient deficiencies and to help control many diseases and invasive pests plaguing trees.
Memphis, Tenn.-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, organic services and sustainable practices. Today, there are approximately 250 TruGreen branches in the United States and Canada, including about 50 franchise locations. TruGreen is part of the ServiceMaster family of brands, one of the world's largest and most versatile service networks. Go to www.TruGreen.com or www.facebook.com/TruGreen for more information about TruGreen.
With a network of more than 5,000 company-owned and franchise locations, Memphis-based ServiceMaster is one of the world's largest residential and commercial service networks. The company's high profile brands are TruGreen, Terminix, American Home Shield, ServiceMaster Clean, Merry Maids, Furniture Medic and AmeriSpec. Through approximately 24,000 corporate employees and a franchise network that independently employs over 31,000 additional people, the ServiceMaster family of brands serve more than 8.2 million customers every year and hold market-leading positions in residential and commercial lawn care and landscape maintenance, termite and pest control, home service contracts, furniture repair, home inspections, residential and commercial cleaning and disaster restoration. Go to www.servicemaster.com or http://twitter.com/ServiceMaster for more information about ServiceMaster.