MATT'S ANNUAL SOAP-BOX RANT:
I'm sure everyone, as I am, is enjoying this extremely mild winter. Being outside all day yesterday gave me an opportunity to enjoy all of the flowers available to see in the landscape: Camellias, Forsythia, Loropetalum, Tea Olives, Cherry tree blossoms, and, even some Azaleas were in full bloom, in addition to the bulbs that are always in bloom at this time of year.
One thing that I found particularly interesting is seeing all of the lawns starting to green up (and not just the weeds). While the early greening up of our lawns is probably a welcome site for landscape enthusiasts, it does not come without potentially negative consequences. PLEASE do not do anything to encourage new growth right now, such as, watering or the use of nitrogen fertilizers.
"Over-irrigation, excessive rainfall, and/or nitrogen fertilization during late summer and early autumn can provide conditions that favor disease infection and increase cool season weed problems. The resulting succulent grass is also susceptible to winter damage from freezing temperatures. Starting irrigation or fertilization too early in spring before natural green up of turf may result in similar problems." (That is a selection from the Clemson Extension website on the management of warm season grasses. Here is the link: https://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/hot_topics/2016/pdf/09%20preparing_managing_warm_season_grasses_during_the_offseason%202%20col.pdf)
The turfgrasses that we have in this area require 1" of water per month during the dormant season, and, we recieve at least that much from Mother Nature. In the active growing season, which does not occur until the lawn has fully come out of dormancy, our lawns require 1" of water per week. Mother Nature does a lot of the work for us there as well, however, in times of drought we do need to rely on our friend, the irrigation system. I always tell people that it, ideally, it is better to NOT have a set program and to run a manual cycle when it the grass shows signs of drought stress.
"Irrigation management is also important to the success of a centipedegrass lawn. Centipedegrass inherently has a shallow root system. Light, frequent watering will lead to a weak, shallow root system unable to withstand periods of drought. Centipedegrass should be watered infrequently, only when needed as water stress appears in the turf. Then irrigate to a depth of 6 inches. Do not irrigate again until the turf is thoroughly dry." (another Clemson Extension article: http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/plants/landscape/lawns/hgic1209.html)
With all of that in mind, I hope you all have a Happy Spring, and, as a reminder, let it happen naturally. There is no need to rush it. There will be plenty of time to enjoy your yards in the summer.
Please do not hesitate to call, text or email if you have any questions.
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