Featured Articles

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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....
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Pest of the Month: Fairy Ring

Initial symptoms of fairy ring are characterized by small rings of lush, exceedingly green grass in turf. As the fungi rings grow, three kinds of fairy ring may form: Type one has a ring of stimulated grass growth surrounded by a ring of mushrooms. Type two has only a ring of mushrooms enclosing seemingly normal grass growth. The third has only a ring of stimulated grass growth. Occasionally, a patch of declining grass growth, or even dead grass, may appear within the ring of stimulated grass....
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Successful Scenes: When it Rains, it Drains

“Rain, rain, go away. Come again some other day.” The problem of getting too little or too much rain is hardly new. The nursery rhyme that begins with those words originated in the days of Queen Elizabeth I, during the late 1500s. If only we could cause rain to fall in amounts and durations that suit our individual purposes, there probably would be no floods, no droughts, no ruined concerts, ball games or picnics. Nearly 500 years later and with all our technological advances, we still cannot control precipitation. What we can do is manage precipitation when it gets to earth....
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Irrigation Insider: The Big Picture

It won’t be long now until we start to see water in the news again. It’s become a perennial favorite of the news media. I suppose that’s good in that it brings awareness to how important the landscape and irrigation industries are to our communities’ hydrologic health. I further suppose it brings awareness to how important the landscape and irrigation industries are when neglecting our communities’ hydrologic health....