July 16, 2008

Growing Summersweet Clethra in the Home Landscape

While most trees and shrubs bloom in spring, summersweet clethra (Clethra alnifolia) blooms in mid to late summer. The fragrant, white flowers are borne on 2- to 6-inch-long, bottlebrush-like spikes (racemes). The glossy foliage of summersweet clethra is medium to dark green. Fall leaf color is rather inconsistent, but in good years can range from pale yellow to golden brown. It grows 4 to 8 feet tall with an equal or slightly greater width.

Mowing Lawns in Summer

Sound mowing practices are important during the summer months. Kentucky bluegrass lawns should be mowed at a height of 3 to 3.5 inches during the summer months. (During cool weather in spring and fall, bluegrass lawns should be mowed at a height of 2.5 to 3 inches.) The additional leaf area during summer shades and cools the crowns of the turfgrass plants. Extremely high temperatures at crown level can kill the turfgrass. When mowing the lawn, never remove more than one-third of the total leaf area at any one time.