Lawn hints |

Lawn hints

Want a lawn worthy of croquet? Heed this advice from Gecko Landscaping’s Dave Ince.

Aerate your lawn in spring and fall to break up compacted soil, improving moisture retention and root growth and alleviating funguses and other turf diseases.

Power rake/thatch: Removing thatch increases moisture retention, stimulating root growth and lessening irrigation. Rake and remove clippings.

Fertilization: Fertilize three times a year. In spring, use weed n’ feed to deter weeds that thrive in high moisture. In summer, use a high-nitrogen fertilizer. In fall, use a slow-release fertilizer with higher phosphorous and potassium content to stimulate root growth.

Mowing: Mow regularly enough to prevent cutting more than one-third of the grass blade, allowing grass to grow longer roots, shade roots and prevent water evaporation.

Irrigation: Use water wisely. Evaluate your system for defects contributing to water loss, and focus on efficiency and adjustments (crooked and “over-coverage” heads lead to excessive use). Consider new water-wise irrigation heads, which use 50 percent less water. Also check your irrigation clock. Smart controllers and rain sensors offer water-wise functions to decrease water use based on detectable moisture.

Irrigation start up

  1. Slowly fill your irrigation system, listening for the noise to stop. This indicates your mainline is holding water and has no leaks or breaks.

  2. Go through each zone via the irrigation controller. Check to see that each head is covering its area properly. Look for crooked heads, over spray, fingering streams and leaks. Adjust or replace problem heads. Walk drip zones to check flow.

  3. Set your controller, adhering to water restriction days. If no restrictions, water every other day before sunrise. Set rotating head zones at 30 to 60-plus minutes, spray head zones at 15 to 30-plus minutes, and drip/micro spray zones at 15 to 60 minutes. (Spray head zones disperse three times more water in the same time as rotating head zones.)

  4. Start lightly and increase watering times as summer dictates. Use hose to hit extra dry spots instead of increasing the zone time.

— Kyle Pietras

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