Many homeowners wonder whether they should regularly water their dry lawns during a drought or essentially leave them alone. A Purdue Extension turfgrass specialist says each option has its pros and cons.
During a dry season, many lawns will show initial symptoms of drought stress, Aaron Patton said. As grass loses water, its leaves become less rigid and wilt; in this stage, grass stays flat after it is stepped on rather than “bouncing back.”
The most telltale signs of drought stress, however, are the crunchy tan or brown leaves of grass that has entered dormancy; the plant is still alive, but the leaves dry up and die. This helps the plant conserve water and survive a drought.
Drought stress is most noticeable on slopes and lawns established on shallow or poor soil, Patton said.
“In order to keep your lawn green during hot and dry periods, at least 1 inch of water will need to be applied weekly,” Patton said. “However, you can keep your lawn alive with far less water.”
Homeowners can water regularly enough to avoid drought stress altogether, or they can let their lawn go dormant and water only occasionally to help it survive.
Some of the advantages and disadvantages of each option:
Watering to keep lawn green
“Water turf two to three times weekly – deeply, a good soaking, so you don’t have to water daily,” Patton said. Watering in the early-morning hours is most effective; watering in the evening could encourage disease or pests.
* Advantages: Turf will stay green, aesthetically pleasing and actively growing; ground remains soft so it can be used for recreation; deep soaking will foster deep roots, which will help plants better survive a prolonged drought.
* Disadvantages: Higher water bill for those with city water; some increased risk of turf disease.
Letting turf go dormant
“Once the lawn turns brown and goes dormant, we can’t tell if a lawn is dying unless we water and wait to see the response,” Patton said. “That is why we advise to water once every two weeks with one-half inch of water once the turf goes dormant to keep plant crowns hydrated during drought. This amount of water will not green up the turf, but it will increase long-term survival during long dry spells.”
* Advantages: Avoid irrigation costs; most turf species are drought-tolerant and will survive typical Indiana droughts.
* Disadvantages: Difficult to tell when turf is getting too dry and needs water to stay alive; lawn is brown and has poor aesthetics; hard soil makes turf less usable for recreation; turf is more susceptible to injury and will not recover until rain returns; some thinning and turf death can occur if there is no rain for 4-6 weeks and no irrigation is applied.
Patton emphasized that when lawns are dry, it is important to stay off them. Mowers and other heavy equipment can cause substantial damage to vulnerable, stressed grass. Once rains return, the turf will begin to recover and grow new leaves within two weeks.
To prevent your plants hanging their heads in summer, they need plenty of water. But how much, how often, water from above or below? Here you find some smart and helpful facts for watering your plants.
Rule no. 1: Keep evenly moist
Most plants depend on even moisture. However, slight drying out before watering promotes root growth of the plants.
Rule no. 2: Water more seldom but then thoroughly
In the flower bed, one to two watering sessions per week are usually sufficient: better to water more seldom but with plenty of water rather than a little water often.
Rule no. 3: Water late in the evening or early in the morning
When you water cooled soil in the evening or night then less water evaporates than as on hot soil during the day. And the plants can sufficiently supply themselves with water before the next day’s heat.
Rule no. 4: Keep leaves dry
Wet leaves become diseased leaves. Kept wet overnight, leaf-mould diseases may result. Leaves that are made wet in the sun develop slight burn marks (burning glass effect of the water droplets).
Requirement-suited watering means that the water must sufficiently reach the roots. Too-low water quantities often only cover the upper soil centimetres – or don’t even reach them at all, e.g. when there is a mulch covering of the soil and too little irrigation. Requirement-suited watering also means that crop plants are particularly dependent upon evenly moist soil in the time until their crops are ripe for harvesting (examples: the forming of roots and corms [carrots, potatoes], leaves [basil, field salad], heads [cauliflower, lettuce], husks [beans] or fruit [tomatoes, fruit]).
Rule no. 5: Give the right water quantity
Rule no. 6: Give larger water quantities in parts
Water needs a moment to seep into the soil. Before precious water in the bed flows away unused, it’s better to water repeatedly in parts.
Rule no. 7: Water with a target but distribute
Always watering at only one root point leads to one-sided root growth and thereby to poorer nutrient absorption in the soil. Therefore, always water around the plant and distribute in the entire irrigation area.
Rule no. 8: Irrigate in a way that saves water
Water as much as necessary and as little as possible. This is simplified with an automatic irrigation system with moisture sensor – in the bed, on the balcony and on the lawn.
Rule no. 9: Avoid waterlogging
Waterlogging suppresses the breathing air of the roots out of the soil – the root cells drown without oxygen.
Rule no. 10: Use quality, clay-rich soil
Plant soil rich in clay minerals has better expanding properties and can therefore hold soil in the water better and in a more even way. In wet summers and in winter, ensure water drainage to prevent waterlogging.
Daniel’s Lawn and Garden Center, 1457 Sumneytown Pike, Harleysville, proudly presents their 5th Annual Pink Day, Saturday, June 11, 2016. A family fun day to benefit Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in the fight against breast cancer.
Last year we rose over $1200 for breast cancer research and are looking to do even better this year. Festivities begin at 11:00 am with face painting and a moon bounce. Pony rides with Chica, the sweetest pony are from 12:00 to 2:00.
There will also be FREE 10 minute chair massages on site by Knots In Knead of Red Hill, PA.www.knotsinknead.net from 11:30am-2pm. Also, you can enter for a chance to win a gift certificate for a FREE 30 minute massage!
New this year is a Pollinator Program at noon by a local bee expert. He’ll show you how to bring pollinators to your garden, which benefits everyone.
Additionally there will be Pink Day Only specials throughout the store including 20lb propane tank refill for $11.99 and 50% off trees and shrubs.
Wear your pink and join us on June 11 and support Daniel’s Lawn and Garden Center’s efforts to help find a cure for breast cancer, a cancer that affects way too many Moms, sisters, wives and friends. Any questions about this event please call us at 610-287-9144 or visit www.danielslawnandgarden.com. See you there. Think Pink!!!
Spring is in full bloom! For many pool owners across the country, this means it’s time to start getting the pool ready for the summer swim season. If you properly closed your pool for winter, opening your pool should be an easy process. Follow these instructions for how to open a pool for summer and ensure a great season of swimming fun.
1. Check your chemicals.
Before you open your pool, it is recommended that you take inventory of the pool chemicals you currently have on hand to see what supplies you’ll need to purchase. (This will also eliminate the hassle of taking multiple trips to the pool supply store.) Any pool chemicals that have expired or were not completely sealed should be properly disposed of and replaced. Also check the amount of product available in the remaining containers to see if you’ll need additional supplies.
2. Clean the pool cover and deck.
Before removing the pool cover, clean the deck area to prevent debris from being swept into the swimming pool; this also gives you an area for preparing the pool cover for storage without the worry of scattered twigs and stones causing punctures, advises Thomas Cal Brown, executive vice president of Aquatech, a society of pool-building professionals. If you have a solid vinyl pool cover, remove any leaves and debris from the cover with a pool rake or leaf net. This prevents any extra debris from entering the pool, which you’ll eventually have to vacuum out. Once most of the debris is gone, use a submersible cover pump to remove as much standing water as possible. When using the cover pump, don’t place the pump near or over any seams of the cover–this will cause water to drain from the inside the pool.
3. Remove and store the pool cover.
Remove the pool cover and lay it out in an open area such as a deck, patio, or driveway. Sweep or brush off any remaining debris and then use a mild detergent to clean the cover. Let the cover air-dry completely before rolling up or folding for storage to prevent mildew and deterioration. Be sure to keep the cover stored in a dry place away from insects and moisture.
4. Inspect the pool.
If you have a vinyl-lined pool, check for tears or washouts; these can occur when groundwater erodes the sand under the pool’s vinyl floor and causes the liner to rest on sharp rocks and stones. Any small tears can be repaired using a patch kit (available at your local pool supply store). Consult the pool’s manufacturer or a local swimming pool maintenance company for any damage that you’re unsure how to repair. For concrete and fiberglass pools, look for cracks in the waterline tile, chips in the plaster, or depressions in the pool decking or coping. Some minor repairs can be made yourself following the advice of a pool professional; more serious defects should be left to the experts.
5. Remove the plugs.
Remove expansion or freeze plugs from all of the water inlets. If your pool equipment was winterized with antifreeze, you’ll need to lower the water level in the pool until it’s below the inlets. Then remove the plugs and drain the antifreeze into a bucket.
6. Reinstall skimmer baskets and fittings.
Remove the winter plate (if used) from the skimmer box and reinstall the skimmer. Hook up any hoses from the skimmer and return jets that lead to the pump and filter. Make sure all fittings are clean and tight.
7. Reconnect the equipment and plumbing.
Reconnect the filter, pump (if you removed it), and heater (if you have one) and inspect them for signs of wear or rust. If anything needs to be repaired or replaced, do so at this time. Remove the top of the filter and check that your filter media (sand, diatomaceous earth, or cartridge) are in good condition and clean. Make sure all valves are open and fill the pump with water so it primes properly. Also check O-rings and gaskets for damage and make sure all have been lubricated
8. Fill the pool.
Grab your garden hose and add water until the water level reaches midpoint on the waterline tile or the middle of the skimmer opening to allow for proper circulation. While you’re waiting for the pool to fill, skim out any leaves, twigs, and debris, and remove any debris from the leaf basket. Re-attach any equipment such as ladders, rails, diving boards, etc. This is also a good time to remove any scale from the pool tile.
9. Start the filtration system and vacuum the pool.
Turn on the power to the pool system (you may need to turn on the circuit breaker if your pool was winterized). Following manufacturers’ instructions, start the pump and filter system. Look for leaks, split hoses, and cracks. If some pieces of equipment are damaged or not operating properly, turn off the power and contact a service technician for any repairs. Once everything is in working order, hook up your vacuum (pool cleaner) and vacuum/ sweep the entire pool and clean the walls with a wall brush.
10. Test the water.
Allow the pool water to circulate 24 – 48 hours to mix up the old and new water. Then test the water chemistry following the instructions on your pool water test kit. To ensure proper analysis, it is recommended that you bring a water sample to a local pool professional, who will provide you with instructions for balancing your pool water. For pools with a mesh cover, it is recommended that you add two or three gallons of liquid shock to the water about two weeks before you plan to open the pool to ensure good water clarity since these covers allow debris and sunlight to get through to the water which can lead to an algae bloom. It is also best to open your pool early (late April, early May) to avoid strong sunlight and temperatures above 80 degrees which can quickly turn the water into a green “swampy” mess.
11. Run the filtration system until the water is clean.
Continue to run the filter until the water begins to clear (it may take several days). During the first few days, it may be necessary to backwash sand and D.E. filters a few times or clean your cartridge filter, depending on how dirty the water was when you started. After the filter has run for a few days, test the water again to ensure it is properly balanced. Chemical levels should be as follows: pH: 7.2 – 7.6 Alkalinity: 80 – 120 ppm ( for unstabilized chlorine); 100 – 120 ppm (for stabilized chlorine, chlorine gas, or bromine) Calcium Hardness: 200 – 400 ppm Chlorine: 1 – 3 ppm Bromine: 1 – 3 ppm Cyanuric Acid: 25 – 50 ppm Once the water is properly balanced, you’re ready for the final step…
12. Jump in!