Watering your Lawn

One of the first articles we wrote in our newsletter was a reminder that your grass gets hungry. There are a lot of folks who forget that. There are a lot of people who forget that their grass also gets thirsty.

Someone once said, “If you don’t like the weather in Atlanta wait 15 minutes it will change. In recent years Atlanta, as well as most of the Southeast, has experienced drought conditions. The last couple of years Atlanta has seen sufficient rainfall, but we have still gone for extended periods with no water. We are in one of those extended periods as I write. Our wet early spring has turned into a rainfall deficit just short of an inch. So, you need to look outside, is your grass thirsty? If you let your grass go too long without a good drink, it will dehydrate.

Watering your grass seems like a simple job but it does need to be done properly. And most importantly it needs to be done in a way that incorporates Georgia’s outdoor water use rules. Beginning June 1, 2011 your automated irrigation system and lawn sprinklers (including hand watering) may be operated on a daily basis between 4 PM and 10 AM. Fortunately, this fits well with the way your grass should be watered.

While we still have a choice of the times to water, the best time is early in the morning just around sun up. And, it is important for you to give your grass good soaking. Most all grasses used in the Atlanta area will grow well on about an inch of water per week. This may require you to water two or three times a week. Water must get down two to three inches into the roots. A shallow watering every day will hurt your grass more than help. The water will evaporate during the heat of the day and will one day leave you with a dead brown lawn. And, never water your lawn at night. That only waters insects and fungus. Before long you will be buying insecticides and fungicides. Again, a good soaking but only water in the morning!

Be careful not to water your grass too much. Excess water will deprive the roots of oxygen. The roots die, the grass doesn’t get any water, the grass dies! Many times this problem is diagnosed as drought stress and more water is added. The simple cure is to take time to probe the soil. If the soil is wet, stop watering!

And while we’re talking about watering, since Georgia is prone to water restrictions, it’s important to make sure that we do what we can to conserve this precious natural resource. There are two things you can do to help.

  1. Make sure your irrigation system is working properly. Take care to calibrate it so that you use only the amount of water necessary to maintain a healthy lawn.
  2. Aerate your lawn at least once a year using a core aerator. Proper aeration allows the water to penetrate to the roots and helps to prevent runoff.

When you look good, we look good! If you need help please give us a call.

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Grasses Part 1

Grasses Part 1

On horses, houses, baseball and belles there is much disagreement. Select any subject, state a preference and one can find an argument. Except lawn grass. On grass there is surprising unanimity-everyone wants a velvet-like carpet that never needs mowing or watering, performs perfectly on rich or poor soil, in sun or shade and is deep green 365 days a year. There is no such grass! In recent years much money and effort have been spent selecting and breeding better lawn and turf grasses, and several have been developed which are vastly superior to the old ones, but there is no promise or probability that anyone will come up with the perfect grass.

grass image People are surprised to learn that thousands of different Bermudas, Zoysias and St. Augustines, some good, some poor, but all different, have undergone scientific testing to determine the best strain or strains for turf uses. New ones come along often, but it is usually prudent to let someone else do the experimenting and use what is tried and proved. Just as there are many families of fish such as the bass and the shark, there are many families of grass. Members of the same family may look different, but there are certain general statements that will hold true for all members of any one family. There are annual and perennial grasses, terms we will simplify by calling the grasses temporary and permanent. Temporary grasses include both those that will die out at the end of their growing season, regardless of what you do for them, and those that will die out due to adverse growing conditions, such as extreme heat or high humidity. Permanent grasses are those which, like many trees, live forever under normal conditions. We will attempt over the next few weeks to provide you with accurate, impartial information that will assist you in selecting, establishing and maintaining the grass that will produce for you a beautiful, care-free lawn. Check back often.

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