Welcome to the Midwest! Where the rising summer temperatures and mild winters, we have a dangerous tick that is growing in population in many different regions. Although ticks don’t pose a direct threat to the overall health of your grass, it does threaten the potential health of your family, friends, pets and you as everyone enjoys your beautiful lawn this season! These pests shelter themselves in lawns and cause potential health risks like skin irritation, fever, aches & pains, rashes and diseases like Lyme disease, southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI), Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF), ehrlichiosis, and tularemia as well as, although rare, the deadly Powassan virus (often carried by blacklegged ticks) or paralysis. It’s important to understand that with ticks’ populations on the rise, there is an increased risk of contracting these diseases. This may seem a little concerning but don’t fret; by following these 8 tips you can keep your family and lawn safe this season.
Watering Your Lawn
Water turf deeply and infrequently. Try to avoid overwatering. Ticks like moist areas and an overly watered lawn is an open invitation for invasion. For lawns with drainage issues, try aeration. A good rule of thumb is to give your lawn 1-1.5 inches of water a week (1 inch of water = 1 hour of sprinkling). How often you water varies on grass and soil types. If you are in unsure of the grass and soil types in your area, check with the Cooperative Extension or your local water authority office for help determining types and the recommended irrigation schedules for your area.
Cut It Right!
Mowing your lawn to the correct height will reduce the likeliness of tick infestation since they disguise themselves in longer grass. Proper mowing heights will also attract natural tick predators. NOTE: Be sure to research or consult a lawn care expert about the grass species in your area for mowing specifications in the heat of summer.
Create a Safe Zone.
If woods are located near your property, create a barrier that limits tick migration by removing leaf litter, weeds and brush.
Inspect Your Pet’s Favorite Areas.
Ticks enjoy latching onto pets which can cause the pest to hitch a ride indoors. Check and treat pet areas, especially in shady, cool spots for ticks. Consider putting down cedar mulch in these areas because it naturally repels these pests.
Welcome Natural Predators and Native Plants!
Mowing your lawn to the correct height and adopting a continuous lawn care program of fertilization, control products and soil amendments, proper irrigation, aeration and thatch management can help attract natural predators to ticks as well as encouraging native plant growth for a healthy and balance lawn that will naturally prevent ticks.
Welcome the Sunshine!
Ticks love shady, moist areas. Introduce more sunshine into a landscape by pruning trees and shrubs.
Keeping It Clean!
Keeping the yard clean from debris like piles of lumber, brick, stone and wood, brush, excessive leaf litter, and tall weeds throughout the season helps to eliminate potential habitats for ticks to reproduce and hibernate.
Protect Your House!
Protect ticks from getting into your home by forming roughly a 6-inch wide clean area around your home by picking up brush, leaf litter and eliminating weeds to eliminate potential hiding places.