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Bob Bertog

Bertog Landscape Co.

Bringing Visions to Life

Wheeling, Illinois


●       What specific stresses are our lawns experiencing this season?

o   Our lawns are experiencing lack of moisture caused by weather stresses. Our area had cool temps in May, then a period of quick rains followed by hot temperatures the past couple of weeks. Quick rains produced a lot of water during a short period of time, but it wasn’t beneficial to turf. Moisture either evaporated or ran off the soil. 

●       How can we tell if our landscapes are experiencing stress?

o   Take a walk around your yard. Is it dry and brittle? Are you mowing the turf too short? Are the mower blades sharp or dull? Note if the lawn is thin or brown in spots. Look for crabgrass, weeds and other diseases, like …

●       Some lawns are already dry and brittle. Is there any hope for them this summer?

o   We are not even close to being in a drought right now, so yes there is hope. But many people just water the surface of their lawn. You need to water deeply to penetrate the soil and reach the plant’s roots. 

●       What specifically can we do to revive them and help our lawns thrive?

o   Lawns need 1 to 1.5 inches of moisture a week. With little beneficial rain in the long-range forecast for July, get out and water. 

●       How do we know when our lawns have enough moisture?

o   Moisture can come from slow, steady rains or manual watering. Consider putting a rain gauge or pie plate under the output of your sprinkler. Measure it after 30 minutes to see how much water you’re putting down and adjust accordingly. 

●       What time of day is best for watering the lawn? Why?

o   Watering the lawn just before sun-up is the best time of day to add beneficial moisture to turf. This lessens the opportunity for disease and gets moisture into the soil and to the plant’s roots before the heat of the day.

●       Are there proper ways to water the lawn?

o   There are a number of sprinklers on the market that can meet various needs depending on the area you’re watering, including oscillating, rotary and spike sprinklers. This allows you to customize the flow of water to the specific zone of your lawn. Many sprinklers also have handy timers. You’ll want to be sure to position the sprinkler to effectively water the lawn and not the sidewalk or driveway. 

●       How do our lawns retain moisture?

o   A blade of grass is about 50% water. The plant’s roots take up water, which contains moisture and nutrients from the soil. Good, consistent moisture in the soil helps ensure that your lawn will survive and thrive.

●       What are best practices for mowing during dry and wet spells?

o   Adjust the blades on your mower to cut only 1/3 of the top of the turf at a time. Anything less than that is too short and can contribute to turf stress. 

●       What do I do about brown spots or urine spots from pets on the lawn?

o   To treat bare patches or lawns with dog urine damage, create a divot mix of topsoil, peat moss, sand and grass seed in a 2-gallon bucket. Apply to areas needing treatment. Cover any remaining mix in the bucket to keep it dry. Store it in a dark place to prevent the seed from germinating. 

●       Is this a good time to lay down sod or seed? How do I care for newly emerging turf?

o   The best time to lay grass seed is in the fall. Grass seed won’t germinate when it’s this hot. Lay sod at any time during the growing season as long as you can water it.