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Old July 16th, 2012, 07:20 AM   #1
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Default Yard maintenance during this drought

Need some advice from you people with green thumbs. So my yard is pretty brown like most peoples lately. I have underground sprinkling which I would think would help keep my lawn looking a little better than most. But I feel like I should be doing more.

Here is some background info:

Currently I sprinkle: for 25mins per zone 5 days a week. I just started that this weekend. I had been doing it for 15mins everyday. It runs in the morning starting at 4am.

I have done 2 applications of fertilizer, one early spring and one in May that was a weed killer fertilizer. Then I put down some lime in early mid June to help green things up.

I have been seeing a lot of birds in my yard, which typically means bugs, but not sure though. I have bright green tall grass around every sprinkler head where it really gets soaked, but the yard overall is brown and does not look good. The Ph level of my dirt is unknown and the soil is mostly clay.

Any suggestions?
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Old July 16th, 2012, 07:27 AM   #2
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You are watering too often, and the water you are putting down is either evaporating, or you are causing the grass roots to move to the top of the dirt to get the little water you are putting down, which makes the grass fail even more.

I water mon, wed, fri, sun. Starts at 3am, and I water between 30-45 minutes per zone and my yard looks like a golf course. The sprinklers turn off right around 7:00AM.

I'm dropping 3/4" of an inch of water per zone, per application, or 3" a week in four applications.

Don't water during the day.

Don't water every day

Water deeply,

hate opening your water bill.


Don't put down Lime unless you are doing soil sampling and you need it.
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Old July 16th, 2012, 07:46 AM   #3
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I haven't cut my grass in 3 weeks and besides some random weeds that are a foot tall, it doesn't need to be cut anytime soon. Why the hell would I wanna water it and give myself more work to do?? Seriously though, we need some damn rain.
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Old July 16th, 2012, 07:46 AM   #4
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Check to make sure your sprinklers are spraying properly and or not leaking
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Old July 16th, 2012, 08:02 AM   #5
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I agree with CC that is sounds like you are watering way too often.

I don't have a sprinkler system, just a couple of hoses, and I water each section for about 30 or 35 minutes twice a week (except the area right around the vegetable garden which gets watered everyday). I also make sure not to cut the grass too short when it's this hot out as that will help to ensure it doesn't burn up too. Overall, my lawn is pretty green this year even with all the hot weather and lack of rain.

Personally, I wouldn't bother fertilizing too much unless either you have a problem with weeds. I fertilize but have awful crabgrass if I don't, especially when it is hot and dry. I have been in my house four summers now and it looks like I've finally gotten that under control.

In the fall it might be worth it to aerate your lawn and rake up all the thatch and all the debris (hire somebody or just go to Home Depot and rent a power rake) and then overseed. I did that last year and it seemed to have made a huge difference.

Next year I might get ambitious and actually put in a sprinkler system... but I've been saying that every year now.
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Old July 16th, 2012, 08:09 AM   #6
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PM 8PTBUCK, he works for Top Lawn and is certified in this kinda stuff. He should be able to give you some tips!
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Old July 16th, 2012, 08:13 AM   #7
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I water every day for 25 minutes starting at 4am outside of the two zones I have turned off because I can't seem to adjust the sprinklers right to keep them off my house and neighbors fence my grass and weeds are nice and green.

Im curious about this every other day for longer watering periods idea CC is going with
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Old July 16th, 2012, 08:21 AM   #8
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I water every day for 25 minutes starting at 4am outside of the two zones I have turned off because I can't seem to adjust the sprinklers right to keep them off my house and neighbors fence my grass and weeds are nice and green.

Im curious about this every other day for longer watering periods idea CC is going with
My neighbor's daughter is a horticulture professor at MSU.

She eliminated my ground ivy, light spots in my yard, and my watering issues. I used to water every day for 10-15 minutes as well, she told me I was doing more harm than good.

Switched to her plan, and over the last two years, my yard has went from nice to immaculate. It's incredible what watering and overseeding will do when done properly.
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Old July 16th, 2012, 08:22 AM   #9
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I have 6 zones. Each zone differs in time based on type of sprinkler head, amount of shade and in one area, it is simply garden. Run time varies from 25 minutes down to 10 minutes. I water every day starting at 5:00 am. My lawn is great other than the friggin weeds and odd ball grasses we have. I do not do a lot of fertilizing or weed killer due to being waterfront, it's frowned on to have too many chemicals leeching into the lake.

I would be open to the staggared option.
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Old July 16th, 2012, 08:58 AM   #10
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I haven't cut my grass in 3 weeks and besides some random weeds that are a foot tall, it doesn't need to be cut anytime soon. Why the hell would I wanna water it and give myself more work to do?? Seriously though, we need some damn rain.
x2. I'm loving that I don't have to cut the grass. I do nothing to encourage its growth.
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Old July 16th, 2012, 09:15 AM   #11
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I almost feel bad that the guy across the street has a yard that looks like the rough at a golf course and mine has large sections that are brown as it gets. Then I realize I have more important things to do.
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Old July 16th, 2012, 09:48 AM   #12
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I almost feel bad that the guy across the street has a yard that looks like the rough at a golf course and mine has large sections that are brown as it gets. Then I realize I have more important things to do.
For me it has nothing to do with what is more important. I set the timer and walk away. We mow it once a week.
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Old July 16th, 2012, 09:52 AM   #13
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My grass went dorment and now has died from not enough rain. Not a problem, the weeds that replace it will be green.
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Old July 16th, 2012, 10:34 AM   #14
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I understand the money and work I put into it, is just that; work, (and not mowing it is kind of nice), but having a nice yard is not cheap and I have a lot of time and money into mine that I dont want to loose. Plus it gives the house that much more curb appeal.
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Old July 16th, 2012, 12:04 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ppkaprince98 View Post
I understand the money and work I put into it, is just that; work, (and not mowing it is kind of nice), but having a nice yard is not cheap and I have a lot of time and money into mine that I dont want to loose. Plus it gives the house that much more curb appeal.
Opposite here. My yard wasn't great when I got the house, the soil here sucks for growing(lots of sand and clay), and you can't even see my lawn from the road. Not that it looks any worse than 90% of the lawns I've seen lately anyway, but it's still not topping my giveashit charts.
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Old July 16th, 2012, 12:35 PM   #16
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Quote:
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Im curious about this every other day for longer watering periods idea CC is going with
its what he mentioned above: frequent shorter watering encourages the grass root system to stay close to the surface. It makes it suffer more in the heat, because that zone of the soil its so prone to baking and drying out during the days heat. The deeper the roots, the more the soil will stay moist during the day. Thats why the weeds will be green when the grass isn't.

Its amazing sometimes how the sprinklers can run for 20 minutes, but then you dig down 1" and the soil is dust down there. Less frequent, deeper watering will help encourage the roots to go deeper.

At least thats what I remember from my college days 20 years ago, working on an irrigation crew.

My lawn isn't watered for the most part, since its wear and tear on my well. I water the garden daily, and I have a few spots that I cleared, top dressed, and am seeding them. So those get 2 shorter waters per day, to keep the top layer constantly wet. Bad for normal grass, but necessary to get the seeds to start.
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Old July 16th, 2012, 12:35 PM   #17
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For me it has nothing to do with what is more important. I set the timer and walk away. We mow it once a week.
I am not a 1% so I have to go turn a valve to get my sprinklers to turn on. Its all the way in the basement. That would mean I have to walk down stairs. Fuck those stairs.

Sure the dirt bike and jeep are down there, and I work on those pretty reguarly, but that includes sitting on a stool, that has wheels so I rarely need to get up. I would need to stand up to turn that valve on.

Honestly, that valve leaks and I keep forgetting to buy the parts to rebuild the valve.
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Old July 16th, 2012, 12:37 PM   #18
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I've just taken to going to take a piss on the lawn.

there are a few green patches at least now. mostly in the backyard though, neighbors were complaining (jealous) when i was doing it on the front yard.
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Old July 16th, 2012, 01:14 PM   #19
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rock garden.
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Old July 16th, 2012, 01:16 PM   #20
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rock garden.
I was never able to get those to grow.
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