by Jim Colman, Lawn Solutions
Across the Lowcountry, we are running way below the average rainfall and the local drought condition moved to “moderate” in mid-June. That means that lawns and gardens are very thirsty and are at great risk if you aren’t watering them properly.
When Mother Nature isn’t cooperating with frequent, soaking rainfalls, we have to take matter — and irrigation — into our own hands. Many homes feature inground irrigation systems. These are much more efficient and easier to use than the “old-fashioned” approach of using a sprinkler attached to the end of a hose that you have to move around your yard constantly.
Even so, irrigation systems must be managed properly to make sure your gardens and green spaces are watered the right amount.
Too much water and you probably are wasting money and can also risk rot root or rapid fungus growth. Too little water and your lawn and plants will turn brown and brittle and be at risk of dying.
Here are some helpful tips for keeping your grass and gardens green during the Beaufort summer:
• Water lawns and other plants when they show signs of stress and during the early morning; avoid watering midday when temperatures are high, or at night when fungus can develop.
• Calibrate sprinklers to apply one-half to three-fourths an inch of water per application. You can check this by placing a container in your yard, running the sprinklers, and then measuring the water.
• Mow lawns high to encourage a deeper, more drought- and pest-tolerant root system; as a general rule, don’t cut more than one-third the height of grass blades.
• Use a drip or micro-spray irrigation system to more efficiently water plant and flower beds; this can save you money and also helps these bedding plants thrive.
• Fixed-spray pattern sprinklers put out a lot more water over a smaller area. They typically only need to run for 15 minutes or so, three times per week.
• Gear-drive rotors cover a much larger area and need to run longer, usually 35-60 minutes, depending on exposure to sun/shade, also three times per week.
• Avoid watering every day.
• It is better to under-water than over-water.
For more information, call Jim Colman at Lawn Solutions, 522-9578, or visit www.lawnsolutions.us.