Summer Landscaping Tips
San Diego offers endless opportunities to beat the heat during the summer months. But don’t forget, your commercial landscaping needs to be prepped for hotter weather, so it can beat the heat, too! Trees and plants are at risk of heat stress. Along with increased temperatures come an increased need for wild fire preparedness, irrigation, and palm tree and lawn care maintenance. Being proactive and setting up your commercial landscaping for success will save you time and money down the line. So don’t get hit with unexpected costs; prepare your commercial property or HOA for summer!
Summer Landscaping Tip #1: Reduce Fire Hazard with Brush Abatement
As we enter the summer months, the risk of fire increases dramatically. Each year in San Diego, homes and commercial properties are damaged or destroyed when wildfires spread from undeveloped into developed areas. One of the best ways to protect your property and community is through brush abatement.
Brush abate is the process of removing the brush surrounding a property that would act as fuel for a fire. Best practice states that there should be 100 feet of defensible space surrounding structures. This would also include removing any dead or dying shrubs and trees, as well as trimming tree branches back at least 10 feet from rooftops.
Another strategy to prevent fires is to replace brush with well-maintained, drought-tolerant and fire-resistant landscaping within the first 50 feet of the structure. While there is no such thing as a “fire-proof” plant, certain plants have qualities that make them more resistant to a fire. For example, plants are high in moisture and grow closer to the ground are more fire resistant than others. Click here for a full list of fire-resistant plants.
Summer Landscaping Tip #2: Audit Your Irrigation System
Irrigation requirements for plants peak during the summer months. There is little precipitation, more hours of sunlight, and drier, hotter weather. During this time, plants are most susceptible to dehydration and death. If you want to save money on water and plant replacement, it’s important to tune up your irrigation system to prepare for summer.
An irrigation tune-up ensures that your system is running as efficiently as possible. Your landscape company should clean debris from sprinkler heads and make sure they are adjusted to spray only in the desired area (and not, for example, on cement). They should also replace broken or worn nozzles, valves, pipes and other components. Valves should be closely inspected to make sure they are working properly and aren’t leaking. And finally, the landscapers should check the water pressure to make sure it is within the desired operating range. This last step is important, because if the water pressure is too high it will turn the water into mist, which will blow away before it even reaches the soil.
Summer Landscaping Tip #3: Aerate Your Turf
Once your irrigation system is working effectively, it’s important to make sure the water can reach the roots of your turf. The best way to do this is through turf aeration. Aeration is the process of removing small “plugs” of thatch and soil from the lawn. There are many benefits to aerating your turf, including improving water and fertilizer uptake, reducing water runoff and soil compaction, and boosting heat and drought tolerance.
On commercial properties, it’s very common to see both soil compaction and thatch accumulation. Soil compaction leads to slow growing, patchy turfgrass. And a large layer of thatch physically prevents water and fertilizer from reach turf roots. Both issues can be readily addressed with turf aeration.
Summer Landscaping Tip #4: Prune Your Palm Trees
Palm trees are a staple in San Diego landscapes and are found on numerous commercial properties and HOAs throughout the area. The summer months are a great time to do some palm maintenance. Palm pruning is important to preserving the health of your palm trees. It involves removing brown, dead palm fronds and fruit.
Dead palm fronds pose a safety hazard. If they were to fall on a person or vehicle they could cause damage, so it’s important to have them removed. And palm fruit can cause a multitude of problems. The fruit itself can be very messy once it falls. In addition, fruit seeds will produce hundreds of small new palm saplings near the base of the tree that look very much like weeds. And furthermore, growing fruit drains energy from the palm tree. It also attracts unwanted rodents that feed on the fruit.