Monday, May 27, 2019

Those Crazy Myths

Horticulture Hotline 05/27/19
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

If you like the fragrance of magnolias and gardenias, what a great time of year to work in the yard or take a walk. Two weeks ago, I was smelling the thick intoxicating smell of banana shrubs, and now, the clean smell of the gardenias and magnolias. Stopping to smell the roses is great. Stopping to smell the magnolias and gardenias is underrated, a Lowcountry gem and should be done more often!

Watering your yard is at the crucial stage now. Driving around and walking my 16 year old pound hound – Ol’Boy, I have seen grass that is not going to come back even with rain. Weeds are moving into these drought stressed areas. Wetting agents will help you water more efficiently and lower your water bill.

When I am out and about, I hear myths about landscaping topics that have been around for decades (that I know about) that just are not true.

1.      Myth – Do not water in the middle of the day or you will burn your grass. Another version – If you water in the middle of the day, the water drops will act like a magnify glass and burn your leaf blades.

Have you ever experienced the “splash and dash” (Bill Walsh lingo) rain shower? The Florida Shower? The Houston (if you don’t like the weather, wait 30 minutes) rain? The New Orleans soaking? These showers all come in very hot climates during the middle of the day and have never burned up anyone’s lawn. Before a water drop could get hot enough to burn the leaf blade of the grass, the water drop would evaporate.

With brand new sod it is sometimes good to water in the middle of the day to cool the sod down and to keep the humidity level high around the leaf blade so the new grass is not trying to pull moisture from the roots that have just been severed.

A reason to hold off watering during the middle of the day is you would lose more water to evaporation. More water would go up into the air and less would go into the ground for your landscape. The wind is usually blowing more during the day as well. The wind could affect the efficiency of your irrigation system (coverage) and could also increase the evaporation of your water.

2.      Myth – If I cut my grass short, I will not have to cut it as often.

Not true if you believe the research that says only remove a third of the leave blade at a time. Say you had grass “X”. You mow at 2 inches. It grows to 3 inches then you mow it to 2 inches. So you should mow every time that grass “X” gets to 3 inches tall.

If you go by the myth and decide to mow it at 1.5 inches so you have to mow less, then when it grows to 2.25 inches you should mow. So if you believe in the one third rule, if you cut at 1.5 inches the grass should be mowed again after 0.75 inches of growth vs the 1 inch of growth if you mow at 2 inches.