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Precision Lawn Care Newsletter June 2016
We Wish You A Happy and Safe July 4th Holiday!
Keeping Your Turfgrass Sod Gorgeous
Keeping established sod lawns watered is not only important to its inherent health and beauty but the techniques and equipment used to accomplish this are key factors to when, where, and how to water. Since Georgia is experiencing current drought-like conditions it is even more imperative to avoid excessive use of water which is no better than under-watering for the health of your lawn, anyway.
Currently there are no official restrictions on watering for metro Atlanta except the standard rules for all Georgians which say that landscapes and lawns may only be watered between 4p.m. and 10 a.m. on any given day of the week. If the state decides to declare a drought then they will publish their levels one, two, or three drought emergency regulations for public information and compliance.
A good green lawn requires that watering be done uniformly. Hand held hose watering is not recommended because of human inconsistencies, but if your sprinkler system has “dry spots” on corners or near buildings, the hand held method will help your lawn stay green in those areas, too. You may want to consider rethinking the design of those areas if you don’t wish to be bothered with hands on watering of small irregular spaces. Your sprinklers may need adjustment to include those areas, or that spot might make a nice place for some ivy or other low maintenance greenery to grow.
If you own an in-ground sprinkler system you may have had it professionally designed and installed but they still require routine maintenance to be kept in tip-top and efficient shape. One mistake the uninformed make is to think that sprinklers can be timed on and off without any further thought from the owner. That kind of thinking does not take into consideration the changes that are required in the different seasons, or during and after large unexpected rain falls from major storm systems passing through.
Part of keeping an in-ground sprinkler system working well is making sure that sprinkler heads that have been damaged are replaced or realigned so they are not watering people on the sidewalk or cars passing by on the street. Nothing garners more negative attention than a wild sprinkler making a nuisance for others to deal with.
If you carefully use portable and efficient hose-end sprinklers you can also reduce your overall lawn maintenance costs. They are capable of providing reliable and uniform water coverage but they are a bit more labor intensive because you have to place them, time them, and move them once again in order to cover your lawn adequately, but that is part of the DIY experience which keeps out of pocket expenses more to a minimum.
Set your sprinklers so they do not throw water high into the air. If the water is set too high the wind can carry the water away from your lawn which is a waste of resources. With sprinklers set low you can guide the water where you really want it and also reduce evaporation loss.
No matter which sprinkler set up you decide to use you will need to perform regular maintenance checks to make sure you don’t have any blocked heads, torn gaskets, or loose attachments which waste water. Any sprinkler system can get out of alignment and produce inconsistencies in water coverage designs so you need to verify that your system is producing what your lawn needs.
One simple method of verifying water distribution uniformity is to save up your tuna cans and use them to measure water coverage in various places on the lawn. You will need from six to eight cans spaced randomly over the lawn, a ruler to measure water depth in the cans, and a timer to know how long it takes your system to reach optimum levels of coverage. Run your water for about half an hour and then measure to see how deep the water is in the cans. They will not all hold the same amount of water which will also reveal to you which sprinkler heads may need to be replaced or adjusted. Most lawns need about one inch of water per week so by using this tin can method you can figure out precisely how much time is needed by your system to create the perfect amount of water coverage for your lawn. Once you have used the cans to measure, you will not likely need to do that again until the next major change is made to your whole system.
Unless you are in school, the summer is not considered to be most people’s favorite time of year. We usually choose the spring or fall because of the comfortable temperatures and the changes that can be easily seen in the environment around us. In the spring the trees bloom, the plants grow, and the wildlife is preparing for new life. In the fall those same trees, plants, and wildlife prepare for the colder and dormant days of winter. But what about the summer? As a child these were my favorite days. The hotter the sun got the better the swimming pool felt. I can’t ever remember complaining about the heat when I was young. Now, I am tempted to do it every day. It seems when I was young my tolerance for the extremes was greater. Not only was I unaffected by the heat but I loved to play for hours in the snow; and how mad some of my cranky neighbors would get when the neighborhood kids turned their roads into a giant slalom course (The cranky ones are always the ones that forgot what it was like to be a youngster). Today, extremes are still something that we “adults” like to leave to the teenagers. We dare not take risk and we had rather live our lives in a consistent seventy degree temperature. Some of us will even move from north to south during the year just to follow this comfort. Have you ever noticed how many of us will leave an air-conditioned house; drive in an air-conditioned car to an air-conditioned gym, in order to sweat? Anything else would be too extreme. It’s like saying, “I will only sacrifice under certain circumstances and within certain parameters.” I guess one could say that we have come a long way – or maybe we have stayed where we are a long time.
The truth is anyone can participate in the seasons of comfort. Anyone can climb out of their comfortable surroundings when they know the ones they are climbing into are just as comfortable. But in order to get the most out of our year, and our life, we must be willing to embrace the seasons that are extreme. They are the ones that will always call you out of your comfort, out of what you are sure of, and into an area that you have not dared enter since you were a child. Your childhood was not meant to be the only days for extreme living. It was meant to show you that if you only live your adult life in comfort, you will miss some of the greatest things God had planned for you.