Lawns go dormant during summertime droughts

The cool season grasses that make up lawns in the northeastern United States thrive in the cooler, damper weather of spring and fall and really suffer during summer heat and drought. They survive summer by going dormant when conditions become very dry. During dry spells you need to decide if youre going to water your lawn to keep it green or not. Its not good to try to compromise by giving your lawns just a little bit of water. This keeps them from going dormant but doesnt give them enough water to thrive either, so they really suffer. Lawns can stay dormant for about six weeks without a drop of water and luckily we havent had droughts that have lasted that long, yet. So either let your lawn go dormant or commit to regular watering, an inch per week at least, until rains come. Tar Spot Tar spot is a fungus disease that causes large, black spots on the leaves of Norway maples and the red-leaved Norway maple often called by its variety name, Crimson King. Luckily, this disease doesnt really harm the trees but it sure makes them unattractive. In bad years they may drop their leaves extra early. The disease is infectious only during a couple of weeks in May. Wet weather increases the disease while a dry May does not favor the disease. The spots are there but arent very noticeable yet. The disease has spread as much as its going to this year, there is nothing to do about it at this point. Garlic Its almost time to harvest your garlic. The leaves should be turning progressively brown by now. You want to let most of the leaves turn brown but harvest before they are all brown. Pull up your garlic when there are 3-4 green leaves left. Each of these is connected to a papery wrapper layer that forms around the garlic head. If you wait too long you wont have any wrapper leaves and your heads wont store long at all. Pull your plants and lay them out in the sun to dry for a few hours then move them to a well ventilated place under cover to completely dry for several days. Once youre sure they are completely dry (when in doubt, wait a little longer) you can either braid the tops together or cut the tops off about an inch above the bulb or head of garlic. Store at room temperature, not in the refrigerator. If you have a garden and dont grow garlic, you really ought to consider trying it. Garlic is planted in October and harvested the following July. Its easy and fun to grow at home. Amy Ivy is Executive Director with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Clinton County Office phone numbers: Clinton County 561-7450, Essex County 962-4810, Franklin County 483-7403. Visit our local Web site at http://ecgardening.cce.cornell.edu or email your question to askMG@cornell.edu.

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