For the Commercial Horticulture Audience:
Our landscape plants require water to grow. Sometimes we do not receive enough water from rainfall. The rain that we do get can disappear into our sandy soils. In Jacksonville, we tend to run in to drought conditions every spring. It becomes easy to tell that there may be an issue with a customer’s irrigation system from the signs of drought stress. It is important to remind them to perform an inspection and maintenance on their system. Most lawns are mowed by heavy riding lawn mowers that have potential to cause damage to sprinkler heads. There is also the potential that an unwanted vehicle parked on the spot or that the system was damaged by utility workers. It is important that customers test the system to avoid having a geyser. Sometimes the solution does not require digging and parts of the head can just be replaced.
In addition to illustrating damage to the system, drought may also demonstrate that the irrigation system is not calibrated or designed to deliver the ½ – ¾ inch of water per event. Click here for a great video to share with clients on how to properly calibrate an irrigation system. Correcting irrigation calibration and design can also help prevent issues from overwatering such as fungal infections. Some systems may have been designed properly at the initial installation, but over time plants have grown to obstruct the correct dispersal of water.
This can happen when irrigation zones meant for turf also include shrubs. Mature shrubs do not have the same irrigation requirements as turf. You may see this on properties where shrubs have issues with downy mildew or cercospora leaf spot and the leaves are staying wet from poor irrigation timing or design. Timing is also an important factor in decreasing the incidence of fungal diseases. The irrigation cycle should only occur from 2-8 am when the dew is already present. We don’t want to extend the dew period after 8 am and have water on the leaves longer than necessary. For more information to share with customers, click here!