Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Pay Close Attention to Watering in April; the Month Typically Is Dry, So Make Sure Sprinklers Are Working

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Pay Close Attention to Watering in April; the Month Typically Is Dry, So Make Sure Sprinklers Are Working

Article excerpt

Byline: RAYMOND H. ZERBA JR.

Our plants have jumped off to a good start. With a lot of tender growth, they face April - the fourth driest month of the year. Make sure those sprinklers are working, and watch the rainfall gauges. If there's less than 1/2 inch rain every 10 days, a St. Augustine grass lawn will need some water. There is more to do as well.

-- By now, if there are areas of the lawn that did not come back from the winter, it's time to replant. Before doing that, ask why they might have died. Perhaps the soil in that spot is hard and compacted and needs loosening. Perhaps that spot is not being reached by a sprinkler or, on the flip-side, it's getting too much water. Perhaps it's too shady. Bottom line, if you've lost grass in this spot before, consider going with alternatives to turf grass, such as fern, ivy or border grasses (for shady areas) or Asiatic jasmine, creeping daisy, or a bed of butterfly plants (for sunny areas). Grass is expensive to keep replacing and if a spot keeps dying, nature is trying to tell you something. Don't plant grass there.

If areas are to be replaced with St. Augustine sod, be sure to rake out all the old dead runners before the sod is put down. Also make sure to buy fresh sod (less than 72 hours old). Order sod, pick it up the day it arrives, and spread it by the next day.

-- Those small black with red or yellow striped lubber grasshoppers are back and in their tight little clusters, feeding on our landscape. To prevent them from becoming the large (3 inches long) brown and yellow mottled adults we see later in the summer, kill them now. Sprays with malathion, triazicide or one of the new pyrethrum derivatives will control them. Go around a couple of times a week in the early morning hours and spray the clusters. If you want a non-chemical control use the "foot stomping" or "hand clapping" approach. …

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