Monday, March 7, 2011

Spring Check of Irrigation

The weather has been unbelievable! The Citadel is playing baseball at “The Joe” and the Charleston Battery is playing soccer at Blackbaud Stadium. There are oyster roasts galore. A great time of year to be in the Lowcountry!

A few items to address in the yard before “The Big Dance” of college basketball (picking squares, brackets, office pools) takes over every free moment you have.

Check out your irrigation system and modify it to reflect your maturing landscape. Do your trees and shrubs still need supplemental water? Can you turn off the zone that sprays or drips into your bed areas?

Do you have 6 inch pop up heads that that are buried inside a plant that has grown over the last few years? Do you need to replace this head with a 12 to 18 inch pop up or can you cap the 6 inch pop up or turn off the zone completely?

Have squirrels or other animals chewed on your drip systems emitters, so water is running freely out of the drip line? Can you completely turn these zones off as well?

Are all your lawn heads turning and aiming the way they are supposed to aim, or is that one pointed out toward the street nailing joggers, bikers, and walkers? Are your valves opening and closing properly? Any wet spots in your yard from a leak in your system?

How much do you really need to water? Can you conserve water and make your water bill dollar stretch further? I know at Possum’s East in Mt. Pleasant our landscape was installed in hot, humid, and nasty August in terrible soil (pH 8) that was basically a hill of sand and we ran the water for one month. When I saw the water bill, we shut down the water system, applied wetting agents and organics around the root ball of the plants and they have been growing great without additional water. Remember I’m talking about brand new plants in August growing on a hill of sand that have done great without extra water.

Turf disease is increased with over watering. Shallow rooted turf is associated with over watering as well. How much do you really need to water the turf? Can you apply wetting agents and organics to turf to reduce watering? Yes, wetting agents and organics will make your turf much stronger and less susceptible to disease and save you money in the long run from a reduced water and fungicide bill.

If you water from a well, have you checked your salt levels recently? I see soil tests with high sodium levels all the time. The salt (sodium) is coming from the well irrigation water. Be sure to get the salt levels checked for the new season.

Mike Williams (“The Joe”) and Kevin Duris (Blackbaud Stadium) are award winning grounds superintendents, and Possum’s Landscape and Pest Control Supply is the “official supplier” of both venues. Nice!

Always read, understand and follow product label. The product label is a Federal Law.