Lawn and Landscape Irrigation
As we begin a new year and will soon be thinking about lawns and landscapes, here is a reminder to focus on water. A limited resource we can’t live without. A New Year’s landscape resolution can be to conserve and protect water resources.
Now is a good time to analyze past growing seasons. When the weather was dry, were there plants that needed more frequent irrigation to prevent them from wilting? Could these be replaced with drought tolerant plants?
It’s hard to think about our plants in the winter months. It is even harder to realize that they are still alive and sometimes need care in the winter months. Once plants go dormant for the year many people believe that they need nothing until spring, but that isn’t always the case, especially in years with low or no snow or rain throughout the winter months.
Following are effective strategies for managing lawns during periods of hot and dry weather:
1. Learn to recognize wilting in turf plants. It is relatively easy to recognize wilting on a houseplant. The leaves droop and the stem may wither, and the whole plant may have a “dull” appearance. Because turf plants are much smaller and thinner than houseplants, it is much more difficult to recognize drought stress in turf plants.
In your lawn is overly shaded and/or has poor drainage, moss may be a problem. Moss is a fast growing, shallow rooted plant that covers the ground, smothers grass and exhausts food reserves from the soil.
When moss appears in a lawn, it is usually because growing conditions for turfgrasses and landscape plants are adverse, usually too little light and air circulation. Other conditions favorable for moss invasion include soil with poor aeration and percolation, compaction, low fertility and high acidity or alkalinity.
Water should never be applied at a rate faster than it can be absorbed by the soil. Soil properties that govern water infiltration (movement of water into the soil) are texture and structure.