Everything you need to do around the house in July & August
If you’ve been thinking daddy needs a new grill, now is the time to make that purchase. From July 4 through Labor Day, Dallas retailers looking to boost sales in the heat-of-summer slump will heavily promote grills and barbeque tools.
That sticky stuff on the hood of your car is probably aphid droppings, especially if you are parking under crape myrtles, oaks, or pecans. And it’s a pain to remove. Ask your car detailer to apply a protective coating to minimize the damage. Exquisite Detailing owner Beau Crane says that a Teflon sealant (such as the one available at Exquisite Detailing) protects from this as well as road tar, tree sap, and UV rays (sounds like a recipe for summer). What about waxing, you ask? Crane says don’t wax. In the summer, heat will bake the paint and cause it to deteriorate faster.
Did you know? If you have an automatic sprinkler system, it is required to have a rain and freeze sensor to avoid excessive watering. Dallas Water Utilities will warn you for the first violation, but subsequent offenses will garner you a ticket attached to a hefty fine.
Take precautions to protect against irritating mosquito bites and the West Nile virus. Eliminate all standing water from around your home and turn anything that can catch water upside down any time water accumulates. Bird lovers, don’t worry. Adding a Water Wiggler ($29.99 at Wild Birds Unlimited) to your birdbath will keep the water agitated and prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs. Added bonus: The water motion will attract more birds.
This is the time to shop for plants with fall interest, such as marigolds, zinnias, fall aster, and fall perennials.
To cut down on how often you need to water your potted and hanging plants, add water retention crystals such as Soil Moist Granules (available at North Haven Gardens). Also add mulch to your flowerbeds to help retain soil temperature and moisture.
Start planting fall vegetables. In early July, plant tomatoes, pumpkins, and gourds, and in mid to late July, plant peppers. In August, you can move on to beans, squash, cucumbers, and broccoli.
In mid to late July, be on the lookout for caterpillars and aphids. The pesticide Bt (don’t worry, it’s natural and organic) should help keep caterpillars from wrecking your yard. Release ladybugs to stave off aphids and other pests.
Establish wildflower seeds in August.
Tip for the future: Spring flowering bulbs hit nurseries beginning in September. Start flipping through your favorite nursery’s catalogs for ideas for your spring garden.
Your turf is the biggest water consumer in your household during the summer months. Educate yourself on how much water is necessary. Most grass only requires 1 inch of water every five to 10 days, depending on the variety. When it needs watering, Bermuda grass will develop a bluish cast and, along with St. Augustine, will roll when it’s parched.
From June 1 to September 30, many area homeowners are restricted to watering their yards before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. The majority of watering during the hot hours will be displaced through evaporation or wind, which wastes water.
For information on how to save water, check out the “How to Save Water Outdoors€VbCrLf brochure at www.savedallaswater.com.
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