Featured Articles

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Sustainable Landscapes: Water Conservation by Systematic Injection of Wetting Agents

Objectives: Develop a protocol to optimize irrigation scheduling based on evapotranspiration demand (ETo). Reduce water usage by injecting wetting agents into the irrigation line. Monitor changes in turf quality. Analyze plant tissues to monitor any abnormal element accumulations. Measure crop coefficient of the Bermuda grass maintained under fairway mowing conditions.  ...
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Irrigation Programming for Water Management

Water is one of Earth’s most precious resources and its availability is vital to the green industry. Recent increases in the price and availability of water have focused greater attention on landscape irrigation water conservation.  Automatic irrigation controllers can waste water if programmed incorrectly or left to operate regardless of the current weather conditions. “Smart” controllers are available that automatically adjust programming based on weather or site conditions. Whether your irrigation system is controlled by a Smart or standard controller, you still need to program it correctly so it can satisfy the landscape’s water requirement and not waste water....
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Erosion and Sediment Control

The protection of water sources and the implementation of methods to limit the pollutants that enter the waterways is an issue at the forefront of government and industry discussions worldwide. It affects all aspects of the landscape industry; backflow devices are required on irrigation systems to protect the entrance of pollutants into the potable water systems and best management practices (BMPs) in the construction and landscape industry are required to control soil erosion and storm water runoff....
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Successful Scenes: Why Bother?

Last week my friend David, a member and advocate for the National Association of Home Builders, asked me to give a presentation to a local chapter. He wants me to discourse on and discuss some landscaping issues to enlighten and persuade chapter members to install better landscapes. Homebuilders sometimes lose their focus after the house itself is complete, and do not pay attention to finishing out the project in a nicely done but perhaps generic way....
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Energize the Landscape

Water gardens provide a breathtaking and practical solution toward energizing and beautifying any landscape, large or small. Although the initial filling of a backyard pond requires a fair amount of water, over time the same expanse of lawn actually takes more water to maintain. As a contractor looking to expand services and options for customers, water gardening is a great addition to your résumé and helps set you apart from your competition....
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Pest of the Month: Chilli Thrips

Chilli thrips, Scirtothrips dorsalis (Hood), are pale-bodied, dark-winged invertebrates that reach a length of no more than 1/16 inch at maturity. Chilli thrips are smaller in size than western flower thrips and other commonly found thrips species, but it is nearly impossible to accurately differentiate chilli thrips from other species without the aid of a microscope. Distinguishing characteristics that can be observed under a microscope include an eight-segmented antenna, a pale head with three pair of ocellar setae and brown transverse lines on the ventral edges of the abdominal segments....
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Irrigation Insider: Sky Watching

For most of my life I’ve been a “weatherhead.” I’ve been staring reverently at the sky since I started mowing my parents’ lawn at the self-involved age of eight. I couldn’t wait to push that growling Craftsman Eager through the thick stuff, soaking up the sounds and smells associated with fresh-cut grass, and we had a perfect canvas a 3,000-square-foot rectangle of flat, verdant, organic carpet. Every Saturday morning, I looked into the stratosphere and wondered if I was going to get rained out or baked in the afternoon sun....
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Lawn Savers: Reducing thatch can minimize pests and disease

Is your customer’s thatch a nuisance or a serious problem? Understanding how thatch collects and affects lawn growth will go a long way in determining the severity of this common problem. Thatch is a communion of dead grass, roots and other matter that builds up in grass over time. It collects on most lawns above the soil at surface level and becomes intertwined in grass stems. When the decomposition cycle is delayed for any variety of reasons, dead matter begins to build up. As the build-up increases, the matter becomes stacked, and then packs down or mats, causing healthy grass blades to become stressed, weaker and thinner. Thatch can actually choke a lawn to death....