Lawn and garden maintenance tips for summers in the south

If you're an Atlanta resident, you know summer lawn and garden maintenance is all about making sure . . .

If you're an Atlanta resident, you know summer lawn and garden maintenance is all about making sure your yard survives the sometimes brutal hot and humid temperatures. Think about how you feel walking from the parking lot of a shopping center to the entrance of a store in the dead heat of a Georgia summer, and then just imagine how your yard feels--it's outside 24 hours a day! Here are some tips for maintaining your yard through the summer's most intense weather.

Water Your Lawn Frequently

Why: The key to maintaining your lawn through the summer is to water it frequently ... oh, and then water it again. If you are lucky, Mother Nature will help you out with some rain (better known as thunderstorms in Georgia), but you may still want to invest in an underground sprinkler system to ensure that your lawn and garden are regularly watered and thriving.

Who to contact for help: Call a full-service lawn care company to help you maintain your lawn. Lawn maintenance can be a very demanding task in the South, especially during the humid summers. Beyond your lawn's insatiable thirst and fertilizing needs, everything seems to grow like it's on steroids, so cutting the grass frequently is necessary, too. What's more, a lawn care company can advise you on what kinds of grass will thrive best in your climate and when to re-seed for optimal performance.

Tip: Contrary to popular belief, seeding your lawn in the fall is often advisable in a warmer climate due to the risk of rapidly rising temperatures in the springtime.

Keep an Eye on Your Weeds

Why: Nothing looks less appealing than when weeds overrun your lawn and garden. Since the humid weather acts like a growth hormone for weeds (and pretty much anything green), this threat is real. A strict garden maintenance regimen will involve frequent weeding. Same goes for pruning your bushes and other plants.

Who to contact for help: A lawn care company will take care of weeds for you if you want. A bottle of weed killer, gardening gloves, and some good old-fashioned elbow grease can supplement professional treatments.

Consider Using Pine Straw Instead of Mulch for Your Landscaping Needs

Why: Pine straw is a great option for landscaping your lawn and garden, and it serves the same function as mulch. In warmer climates, pine straw is a great solution because it allows for better breathability and water infiltration for your shrubs and trees.

Who to contact for help: A landscaping company can help you determine how much pine straw you will need for the size of your yard and either drop it off or spread it for you. Better yet, pine straw is often more cost-effective than traditional mulch.

Know Your Plants

Why: It's important to have an understanding of which plants and flowers are hardy enough for the worst of what Atlanta's summer weather can bring. Certain plants and flowers may look pretty, but give them one weekend in the scorching Georgia sun and they will not have the same appeal; in fact, they will likely end up in a compost pile. Your garden will thrive if you pick the right plants for your climate.

Who to contact for help: A landscaping company can help you make the best decisions for your needs, and they can make your property look good, too! So before you do it yourself, get some estimates to determine if a pro can do it better.

Know Your Seeds

Why: Similarly, if you plan to plant and maintain a vegetable and herb garden, make sure you educate yourself on planting timetables and which crops are best suited for a hot climate. You want to eat what you plant instead of having to toss it, don't you?

Who to contact for help: Consult an almanac (yes, a good old almanac, you read that right), a green thumbed friend or family member or a garden center before you put anything in the soil. Also, get a good understanding of where in your yard your crops should make their home. Are they best suited for a shady patch of property or are they sun-seekers? How often do your veggies and herbs need water? And when should you harvest those delicious crops?

Control the Critters

Why: Many pests--both insect and animal--threaten to harm your lawn and garden, so make sure you have a plan in place to keep them away.

Who to contact for help: Talk to your lawn care professional and your garden center specialist to come up with a long-term strategy for pest control.

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