Harvesting Rainwater to Combat Drought-Your Garden Thanks You!

Each year that goes by seems to bring more drought problems. Reservoirs are dwindling, rivers are drying up, forest fires are popping up in places that they haven’t been in years. There just might be something to this “global warming” business.

In the meantime government regulations are putting the damper on watering your lawn and garden with city water, some areas even restrict watering your lawn and garden with well water. So how do we keep our beloved plants alive? There might be an answer in harvesting rainwater.

 

rainwater harvesting barrell

Rainwater Harvesting Barrell

Lots of people are already catching rainwater to use in varying amounts now. Some simply catch a 35 gallon drum full to water their potted patio plants. When that runs out, they go back to using their city water, but even then, that’s 30 gallons of water that were saved. If all of us saved just that much each month, we would collectively save millions of gallons of water a year.

Where to start? First, you need something for rain water to run off of to catch it, usually your roof. Then, you simply catch that rainwater at the downspouts and send it to a collection barrel, tank or cistern. Depending on how elaborate you want to get, you can do this without even having any electricity involved just letting gravity work to use the collected water.

In the simplest of systems, a barrel is placed under a downspout to catch the water, and a rain diverter is attached to the downspout, then  a  hose spicket is attached to the bottom of the drum to access the stored water for watering your plants. Keeping the drum up off the ground a couple of feet allows gravity to work for you.

rainwater collection system

rainwater collection system

 

In more elaborate systems, in-ground storage tanks are used to store the water and electric pumps are then needed to lift the water out to pump it through hoses to use it. These systems can run into the thousands of dollars to build. What your needs will be will most likely fall somewhere between these. The diagram below shows a simple system with a couple of plastic barrels placed under a downspout. The two drums are connected by a piece of pipe that allows both drums to fill up with only one being under the downspout. You could feasibly connect as many barrels together as you want to increase your storage.

Rainwater can even be collected, filtered and run through an ultra-violet sterolizer that will make the water potable. These systems can get into several thousands of dollars, but if you live out in the middle of nowhere, and “off grid”, then it is a viable source for water.

The University of Arizona has a good article on building rainwater collection systems.

No matter how elaborate you want to get, collecting rainwater just makes good sense! Reducing your water bill is just the beginning, helping to conserve water and being able to grow plants when you couldn’t before because of lack of water are just bonus reasons.

Some municipalities, States and Fed. governments will allow credits for installing certain systems that meet minimum criteria. Here is some more information from the National Conference of State Legislatures .

Here are a few products that will get you up and running to collect some rainwater and keep your plants happy.

 

 

Winterize Your Irrigation System to Prevent Damage

Winter is going to be here before you know it, now is the time to plan for winterizing your sprinkler system (irrigation system). Most irrigation systems will retain a small amount of water in the lateral lines, even if you have automatic drain back valves installed. And the valve boxes are all

irrigation system automatic drain back valve

An automatic drain back valve in an irrigation system. It helps to eliminate water from standing in the system

susceptible to freezing because they are exposed to the elements except for a thin plastic lid. If a valve freezes and breaks, it is usually an expensive repair.

 

Winterizing your system is usually going to require having the installer, or a qualified Landscape Professional, that has knowledge about the operation of an irrigation system, pumps that pump out of the lake for water source, and all of the different timers, valves and related systems that make up an irrigation system, to do it for you. A properly installed irrigation system is quite complex and needs the expertise of someone that has done it for years to service it for you.

LawnMasters has been installing and maintaining irrigation systems for 26 years. One of the first systems we installed was on Kentucky Lake for a nice lady who had recently lost her husband. He had started building an irrigation system, but passed away before he could complete it.

We completed the system for her in 1990, and it is still being used today.

Winterizing an irrigation system involves hooking an air compressor up to the system, utilizing a couple of different options, then charging the system with air pressure to blow the water out of the system.

Winterizing an irrigation system

An irrigation head blowing out any water in the line during winterization

Two problems can surface during this action, one is the system can be damaged if too much air pressure is applied to it. Or second, the system can still be damaged by freezing water if all of the water is not purged from the system. Again, knowledge is king when servicing a system that costs thousands to install.

Once we have the system winterized, we turn it off and put it to bed for the season, ready to be started when needed in Spring, protecting your valuable irrigation system and your investment.

When Spring comes, the system should be ready to just turn on the water, adjust your automatic timer and let it take off again.

When should you have your irrigation system winterized? It depends on what part of the US you are in, when your expected first freeze will be, and if you are doing Fall seeding.

Obviously, the farther North you are, the sooner you will have to winterize your system, an easy rule is to have it done prior to the expected date of your first freeze. If you are done using your system for the year, go ahead and schedule to have it done, or do it yourself if you are able. There is no benefit in waiting, and, if you wait until the last minute before the first expected freeze, you may not be able to get on the schedule to get it done in time.

New Sod, Irrigating

New Sod Being Watered

If you are doing some Fall overseeding, aeration and seeding or have installed sod, you may need to wait until the last minute. Still, if you are planning on waiting right up until the last day or so before freeze is expected, go ahead and call to get on the winterizing schedule and you can still get it done.

The first freeze usually isn’t the killer freeze that damages a lot of water pipes. The first time it freezes, the ground is still above freezing and the temps usually don’t drop that far below freezing, and most components will not freeze.

But after the ground gets cold enough, and the daytime temps stop getting warm enough to keep the ground warm, a moderate freeze can do major damage to the system.

If you have the knowledge and equipment, you can winterize your irrigation system yourself. If you don’t, or you’re not quite sure how to go about it, give us a call, it’s not that expensive and can save you hundreds of dollars in repair bills come Spring time.

If you need help with winterizing your system, you can contact us a number of ways

Call us at 731.642.2876 or 888.664.LAWN

Email us

Or stop in and see us at 124 Whitlock Rd., Puryear, TN.

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Can Your Lawn Look Like Wrigley or Progressive Field?

Progressive Field, Home of the Indians

The Indians Progressive Field

Yes, with the right grass, proper maintenance and attention to your lawn’s needs.

In West TN, we live in the “transition zone” of the United States, or sections of zone 7 – 7A. This means we can grow both warm season and cool season grasses. Both Wrigley Field and the Indians’ Progressive Field have Kentucky Bluegrass on them which is a cool season grass. You might guess by their name that a “cool season grass”, grows best in the cooler climates with less humidity. Bluegrass will grow in our area of NorthWest Tennessee, but it does require more maintenance than Fescue and it’s not as hardy as some Fescue varieties.

Hardiness Zone Map

New USDA Hardiness Map

Bluegrass is common in the northern states from KY to New York, Ohio, etc. Their climate is suited much more to fit Bluegrass than ours. In the North, they don’t have as much humidity as we do in the South. Humidity is one of the biggest killers of our cool

Wrigley Field Bluegrass

Chicago Cubs Wrigley Field

season grasses in our area. Mainly caused by brown patch and other fungus’.

So what would it take to get your lawn to look like a professional field? The grass type is just the beginning. After you either sod or seed, you will have to apply fertilizer and weed control 5 to 7 times per year to keep the lush green grass and weed free look.

Irrigation is another key, you don’t have to have an automatic irrigation system, but it will lessen your work load . You can water by pulling water hoses and sprinklers around if you have more patience and energy than you do money. But however you do it, your new, lush green grass will need regular water, if you’re not willing to do it, don’t waste your time and money reseeding your lawn.

The first step is to determine if your lawn is smooth enough already to have a smooth cut after the new grass grows in. If you have lots of dips and holes coupled with high spots, you will not be able to have a smooth cut. Your mower can only cut as even as the grade is on your lawn. So if it’s real rough now, it’s still going to be real rough after you reseed it, unless you do a total renovation reseeding, and do something to level out the grade so you can have a smooth lawn.

Total renovation of the lawn will include tilling it up, leveling it, then seeding, fertilizing and strawing it. You can learn more about how to do these on our website SEEDING PAGE.  Simple aeration and overseeding will require far less work, time and money but should only be done if your current grade or smoothness of your lawn is acceptable. If you are having a sore back from hitting potholes in your lawn while mowing, you will want to do the total lawn renovation, and level it as best as you can. It will be worth it in the long run. There’s nothing like mowing a nice smooth, lush, green lawn and enjoying the smell of fresh cut grass.

Getting a first class “pro field look” starts after the seeding is done and your new grass comes up. The seeding/establishment part of it only takes a few weeks, the maintenance that you will do from here on will determine what the lawn looks like in the long run. The “pro look” of your lawn will take a few seasons, so don’t give up if it’s not where you would like it to be after your first seeding.

Lush dark green color comes from regular fertilizing and weed control. The fertilizer gives the green, the weed control keeps the junk weeds out which usually have a lighter green color, size and texture. These junk weeds will do more to trash up your lawn than anything else.

You notice light and dark stripes in the professional fields. This is what we call “striping” in the Lawn Care Business. This is done by mowing in alternate directions, and by using a roller behind your mower you can enhance these stripes even more. Some mowers do a great job of striping, while others not so much. You can practice by just mowing in a straight line down your lawn, then turn around and mow straight back up towards the house. You should be able to notice a difference in the color of the two passes.

Lawn Stripes

Lawn Striping done with a Scag Mower

Mowing Fescue tall, at 3″ or taller helps to enhance the striping also, but you can stripe grass even as low as 1″ or less. Golf courses do it at as little as 3/8 of an inch.

Keeping a great looking lawn starts with getting a good stand of grass, of the right type, keeping it fertilized and clean of weeds, proper mowing, keeping it watered when it needs it, and a few other maintenance items you will have to do. Like lime applications, fall leaf removal, aeration and the occasional overseed to thicken it back up.

If you do these things on a regular basis, over the course of a few seasons, you can have a pro-field look. It’s not easy, and you will have some patience and spend a few dollars on maintenance products or hiring someone to do it for you. But if you want that look, that’s what it will take.

Lawn Care is Hard

Lawn Care Is So Hard!

Remember that these pro fields are maintained by a crew of professional grounds keepers with an unlimited budget, with every piece of equipment you could possibly need, provided for them. They have someone managing the team that has been maintaining pro fields for years, sometimes generations, so they know what they are doing. Don’t get discouraged if your efforts don’t produce a Wrigley field in the first season.

Got questions? Drop us an email and we will be happy to help.

Do you Have What it Takes to Install a First Class Lawn?

With our help, you do!

Most homeowners want a pretty lawn, you have spent thousands on your home and it’s just natural to want to make it look as good as it possibly can. A beautiful, lush, green lawn will frame the home and set it off. So, how do you get it?

You can call us, we can do anything for you that your mind can believe and conceive, but the bigger the dream, the bigger the price tag. You can still get some of what you want by doing the work yourself. Just order our book “Establish and Maintain a First Class Lawn, Like a Pro”

Establish and Maintain a First Class Lawn, Like a Pro

Install the lawn of your dreams using our expertise, and your hard work.

This book is the result of our 26 years experience, years of studying lawn and turf principles and methods, and putting them to use in the real world.

We lay out the “how to’s” to get a great looking lawn. Everything from different methods of establishing a lawn. From the total kill down and complete restoration to a simple aerate and overseed method. Which is best for your lawn, when to do it, how much seed to use, how much and what kind of fertilizer should you use, and how you should maintain your new lawn once it comes in.

 

 

 


Everything that we lay out for you to do, is taken directly from our experience in doing exactly what we do for our customers each and every day.

If you have the energy, and desire to do this yourself, you surely can. It’s hard work! But with guidance, you can do it!

Over the last 26 years, we have gladly given away thousands of dollars worth of information, advice and instructions on how to do certain lawn and landscape maintenance chores. We are happy to help our customers. If you download our book, you automatically get access to answers to your questions by email. Just drop us a note and we are happy to answer and help you.

Our new book is an E-Book, first designed for Amazon’s Kindle, but now can be downloaded and read on any device using Amazon’s free Kindle Reader App Currently we do not yet have a hard copy of the book available. However, click here to download Establish and Maintain a First Class Lawn, Like a Pro  and then let us know if you have any questions about how to complete your project.

Our Background 

Lawnmasters was started in 1990 after owner and founder, Greg Pierce had just finished up his second bout with cancer, and it’s treatments. The Company was then started out of his love of seeing a new lawn establish and grow into a beautiful, lush, green lawn. Greg Pierce, CTP (Certified Turfgrass Professional) founded Lawnmasters as a “Weed and Feed” type of Company to apply fertilizer and weed control products to the lawns of customers in our service area. This was all we planned to do, but due to the demand for more services, we started doing complete lawn and landscape design, installation, and maintenance.

We quickly grew from a one-man business to one of the largest lawn and landscape Companies in our area.

Today, we are finishing our 26th year in business and have serviced customers from Paducah, KY, to Memphis, TN, to Franklin, TN. We are licensed, insured, bonded, and chartered, for our customer’s protection. We have been very successful in our field for the last 26 years, and we are happy to give back to those who have helped us get there.

Greg has also finished his third fight with cancer and is currently doing well.

If you have any questions about the book, drop us an E Mail

 

Fall: Your Lawn and Landscape Still Needs Water

AS Fall sets in, many homeowners are tired of dealing with all of the plants outside that need watering, the lawn that needs water, flowers, and trees that have taken so much of your time throughout the Summer. But don’t quit just yet!

Tired of watering

Fall is supposed to bring the much-needed rain and cooler temperatures, but as the temps cool off, the rain doesn’t always come. Much of the US is under drought conditions now, many areas are in severe drought and the Fall rains have yet to come. Many plants in our area are showing signs of drought and wilting. If they don’t get any water they will suffer going into dormancy, and may not come out of it next Spring.

Dogwood wilting

So if you’re in an area that allows watering, don’t give up on the watering chores just yet. Many plants are busy storing reserves to help make it through the Winter. Water is needed at the end of the growing season in order for the plants to make their reserves. Keep up the watering through Oct. or until the regular rains come. Your plants will thank you!

How much water is needed is dependent on the type of plant, the size of the plant, if it’s located in the sun or shade, and a few other factors. The basic rule of thumb is to simply keep the planter, pot, or ground moist around it. It doesn’t have to be soaking wet unless you’re just going to soak them once a week and let them dry out. That approach is fine, or you can water a few times a week, just giving enough water to bring the soil back to moist.

How you water is up to you, using a water hose and hand sprayer, a stationary water sprinkler that you have to move periodically, or my best suggestion is to have an automatic sprinkler system. They can be expensive, but so can replacing several plants each year.

For free estimates on sprinkler systems and free lawn and landscape analysis call our office or check our website for more information.

Irrigation system/sprinkler system

An Automatic Irrigation System watering Zoysia

Watering regularly until the plants go dormant this Fall will help them bounce out of dormancy next Spring, and might even keep some of them from dying. Some varieties of plants can be damaged possibly beyond recovery if they are left to the chances of Mother Nature.

Remember how excited you are in Spring when the temps start warming, the flowers start coming out and the grass starts greening up? Keep that thought for a couple more weeks, and remember that what you do for your plants this Fall will pay off next Spring!