The Q&A Archives: Lawn Care & Planting Fruit in Summer

Question: I'll soon be moving into my new home with a newly established lawn. What can I do to insure that the grass doesn't die? Also, I'd like to plant a fig and a few citrus trees and want to help them survive the temperature in the high 90's.

Answer: Your lawn will do best with deep, infrequent watering. This promotes a deep-rooted, drought-resilient turf. One inch of water applied once a week is a good guide. In sandy soil during the heat of summer you may have to go to 1/2, inch twice a week.

Avoid overfertilizing as this results in shallow rooted, tender turf. You should get by with one fertilization in early to mid April (April 15th is easy to remember!) and another in early to mid October. Choose a fertilizer with a 3-1-2 ratio of nutrients (such as 15-5-10, 6-2-4 or 21-7-14) and only apply 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet (this would be equal to 7 pounds of 15-5-10 or 5 pounds of 21-7-14). Return you clippings to the soil with a mulching mower and your turf will really respond well.

Container grown fruit trees can be planted in summer. You'll really have to keep them well watered through the season, but avoid overwatering. Soggy roots mean big trouble for fruit trees. Keep grass and weeds at least 2 feet from the trunk (5 feet would be better) with mulch. Four sheets of newspaper, wet with a hose and covered with a few inches of leaves or pine needles makes a great, season-long mulch!

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