We at Martin Services, LLC, are dedicated to the care of your property. Dealing with Mother Nature has more than its share of challenges, but our staff has the know how and equipment to do the job properly. The right product, at the right time, in the right amount.
Is your yard a train wreck? Want us to turn it around? Or does it just need some TLC to keep it maintained? Want your weekends back? Let US do the work for you.
When should I water?
Well, the smart alec answer is, when the plant needs it. For a lawn, most grass needs about 1” of rainfall or equivalent per week. Some can go longer, depending on grass variety, soil type, soil compaction, sun, humidity. A couple of good, deep, watering cycles per week should do it.
What’s the best time of day to water?
Any time but at night. Wet grass blades overnight can lead to diseases. Ideally, water just at sun up. This will wash off any disease pathogens that may have formed with the dew, and also allow the water to soak into the soil before the heat of the day helps it evaporate.
I heard you should never water during the hot, sunniest part of the day?
Totally untrue. If you’re wilting from the hot sun, so is your grass. Golf courses water during the prime sunshine hours all the time. It’s the least efficient time, due to evaporation, but it will cool off the grass, preventing heat stress.
How often should I water?
One rule of thumb: It’s better to water deeply and infrequently than water a little bit every day. If your grass needs 1” of rainfall a week, run your system 3 times a week to put out roughly 1/3” per cycle. How do you measure this? Place empty tuna fish or cat food cans on the lawn and run your system. Measure how much is in the cans and adjust timing accordingly.
How do I know how much water is enough?
Too much water can be just as bad as not enough. Soil should be moist, not constantly wet. This can lead to poor root depth (the roots will actually recoil, trying to find air. Yes, they can drown), diseases, and lots of other problems. An hour or three after watering, take a shovel, drive it into the grass, and look at the soil. Don’t worry, just step on the disturbed grass to push it back down after and it will be fine. Is the soil moist? How deep is the moisture? The deeper the better.
I’m trying to conserve water. How do I use less but still keep my yard nice and green?
Good for you. It is our most precious and most wasted resource. First, follow the deep and infrequent watering rule. Keep your soil healthy. Keep pH in normal ranges. Aerate regularly!!! Maybe add some organic matter. Did it rain yesterday? Is it raining out right now? Then why are you watering? Have a rain sensor added to your system. This will override the system if no watering is needed. Already have one? If it’s more than 5 years old it might need to be replaced. Is the weather man calling for thunderstorms tonight? Run your system for a quick “syringe” cycle. This will soften the soil a bit so the quick torrential rain will be more likely to soak in rather than just running off. Is your system running properly? Does that head way out back leak, or maybe the spray pattern is off? Might need to adjust or replace the head.
Switching to drip irrigation for your flower and shrub beds will save LOT of water, and make your plants healthier at the same time.
I pay a fortune to fertilize my yard, and my neighbor’s looks better!! WHY?!
Well, could be a number of reasons.
Mowing height? Do you mow at 1 ½” and the Jones’ lawn guy mows at the proper 3-4”? Mowing short is bad bad bad for the home lawn. It will dry out faster. The turf will be thinner as a result. Weeds will have more sunlight when they germinate so they’ll grow faster. The roots will be shorter. The longer the blade, the longer the root (usually). Some lawn chemicals break down under sunlight. They’re fine under a 3” tuft of grass, but if it’s shorter…
Soil pH. Do the neighbors test their soil and lime regularly? Low soil pH can dramatically affect how your turf looks. Proper pH means better microbial activity, nutrient uptake, and can affect soil compaction. Many key nutrients can be bound up in the soil, unavailable to the plant, if it’s too acidic. You can be wasting as much as HALF the fertilizer you apply. The grass simply can’t get at it. How do you fix it? Test the soil. Fix what’s broken. Odds are very good your pH is low.
Soil compaction. Soil compaction is probably the #1 enemy of turf. The roots just cannot penetrate. Neither can water. Or fertilizer. It will just run over the top and into the storm drain or neighbors yard. Also, the soil can’t breathe. There’s a lot going on in your soil. Millions of bacteria and protozoa, miles of fungi strands, worms by the score. All are living in your soil, doing their thing. If the soil can’t breathe, neither can they. And they’ll die or move on to greener pastures. How do you fix it? Several ways. Best and easiest is to aerate regularly. An aerator will poke holes in your soil, pulling out small plugs. This will alleviate the compaction quickly and effectively. This is also a great time to add some organic matter. Spread some compost, add a good organic fertilizer. The plugs will go away on their own. Regular aeration is just good preventive maintenance for your soil, just like an oil change for your car. Maintaining organic matter levels will naturally ease compaction. Earth worms will help too with their burrowing. Organic matter can be added via compost and compost tea, organic fertilizers, or simply by leaving the clippings when you mow. Maintaining your pH will help keep the “engine” running smoothly too.