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TUESDAY, MAY 29, 2007
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LeAnn Hill waters bushes Friday at People’s Bank on Sixth Avenue Southeast.
Daily photo by John Godbey
LeAnn Hill waters bushes Friday at People’s Bank on Sixth Avenue Southeast.

Drought takes
toll on lawns

Plants, trees in Tennessee Valley wilting in dry conditions

By Tiffeny Hurtado
thurtado@decaturdaily.com · 340-2440

If you want to keep your lawn green during the area’s worst drought in years, it is going to take work.

And lots of water.

That’s what local landscapers are saying, and they have seen firsthand the effects of the dry season on local yards.

“Discoloration and dried patches of grass is the first telltale sign that a lawn is in need of water,” said Jeff Kelly, a landscaper with All Seasons Professional Lawn and Landscaping.

Plants and trees across the Tennessee Valley are starting to wilt in the hot, dry conditions that the area is experiencing.

“It’s getting bad,” said Charles Stinnett of C&T Lawn Care.

“Everything is just drying up.”

Those with lawns and landscaping are advised to water in the morning, preferably before the sun rises, to avoid evaporation.

“I suggest watering your yard for about an hour once or twice a week,” said Kelly.

By watering longer instead of more frequently, the grass roots will be able to absorb the water. This is where it will be the most beneficial.

Stinnett also advises people to mow less frequently and not cut grass as short so the lawn can hold more moisture.

It seems some lawn-lovers are looking into irrigation systems for their yards and landscaping.

“We’ve had people calling to install irrigation systems because they’re tired of dragging around a hose,” said Stinnett.

With the Tennessee Valley in the middle of what the National Weather Service calls an “extreme drought,” it might not be a bad idea to invest in longer-term, drought-prevention systems to keep lawns alive and healthy. According to the weather service, the area has a rainfall deficit more than 3 inches below normal for May.

The area is well overdue for precipitation with the deficit being 10 inches below normal since the beginning of March.

The Tennessee River is near baseflow level because of the lack of rain, but lakes along the river are at normal levels for this time of year.

Fortunately, there are no known water-use restrictions in the region, so those who want to keep their yards green and healthy, start your hoses.

Tips for a green lawn

  • Water lawns and landscape early in the morning.

  • Water for at least an hour once a week so roots can absorb moisture. Best time is before sunrise.

  • Cut back on mowing grass and let it grow longer between mowings.

  • Invest in irrigation and sprinkler systems to ensure consistent watering and healthy lawn and landscape.

    Tiffeny Hurtado

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