July 27, 2018

Late Summer Lawn Care

Hot, dry summer weather can be tough on Kentucky bluegrass and other cool-season grasses.  Good cultural practices in late summer can help revive stressed lawns.  Important late summer cultural practices include mowing, overseeding, aeration, and fertilization. 


In September, lower the mowing height from 3.0 to 3.5 inches to 2.5 to 3 inches.  Continue to mow the lawn until the grass stops growing in late October/early November.  When mowing the lawn, never remove more than ⅓ of the total leaf area at any one time. 

Sunflowers – Symbols of Summer

variety of sunflowers in a vase

Sunflowers are one of our iconic symbols of summer.  Their bright yellow flowers resemble the sun, hence their common name.  The scientific name (Helianthus) comes from Helios meaning “sun” and anthos meaning “flower”.  Sunflowers also get their name from the plant’s ability to follow or track the sun, a phenomenon known as heliotropism.

Hardy Hibiscus or Rose Mallows for Iowa

A red hardy hibiscus flower on the Iowa State campus

There are several Hibiscus species that grow well in Iowa.  The Rose-of-Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) is a common shrub in home landscapes in the southern half of Iowa.

Bagworms Possibly Still Treatable

small bagworm on mailbox

We earlier reported that bagworms have hatched and are feeding on a wide variety of trees and shrubs.

Japanese Beetle Emergence and Longevity

The persistent and destructive Japanese beetle (JB) got a 'jump start' on its activity with the hot temperatures of May and June 2018.

First Jumping Worm Appearance Confirmed in Iowa

The jumping worm is dark brown to gray, smooth, and with a milky-white to gray clitellum.

The invasive species of earthworm described in Horticulture & Home Pest Newsletter on May 7, 2017, has now been confirmed in Iowa.  

Monarch and Pollinator Habitat Field Day, August 21, 2018

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will host a monarch and pollinator field day on Aug. 21 at the Prairie Ridge Care Center, 1005 7th Street NE, Orange City.

The program will run from 2:30-3:30 p.m. and includes a field tour of the monarch and pollinator habitat and presentations on establishing monarch and pollinator habitat, habitat assistance and cost share programs and the 4-H Monarchs on the Move program for youth. 

Master Gardener Training Registration is Open

Training for new Iowa Master Gardener will take place at 43 Iowa locations this fall.  Classes start in September so the time to register is now!  Learn more about the Iowa Master Gardener program online and read more about registration in the Iowa State University Extension & Outreach news release from July 12, 2018.

Yard and Garden News – Brown Lawns, Water Features and Container Gardens

When the Lawn Is Orange or Brown

There are many challenges to growing a turfgrass lawn during the Iowa summer.  Read more about turfgrass dormancy, watering, and summer disease in the Iowa State University Extension & Outreach Yard and Garden news release from July 26, 2018.

Add Beauty to a Garden with Water Features