Agri-Growth International

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Whitey4, Feb 1, 2008.

  1. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    We have enough nitrates in our lakes so draining it any faster would be like piping it directly into the surface water. I am a landscaper that uses plants to do the work for me.
    Grass holds moisture at the surface and protects moisture underneath. Taller plants with deeper roots use water deeper in the soil profile.
    Grass prevents both wind and water erosion of the very top of the topsoil better than any other plant can, even in dormancy and spring thaws.

    We have a tendancy to go about business with general rules of thumb without sorting details of individual situations. Lawns do not 'need' an inch of water per week, except perhaps in the heat and the drought like last summer. Even then in shaded areas I doubt an inch was needed.

    Professionals operate their business to cover all aspects of every circumstance because they fear an unforeseen circumstance that they might be accountable for. They fear because they doubt and are unsure. Fantasy replaces sense and understanding.

    I had an irrigation guy tell me that I drowned a new transplant on a sandy hillside by having the sprinklers set for an hour 3 times a week, for the grass. The burlap and the clay root ball dried right up. Sprinklers on a hillside !! for burlaped shrubs.!!
    Evidently he didn't know that shrubs need water deeper than what grass does and more of it :)
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    You see, I think he is educated and had come to understand that shrubs require less water and when you mulch them it helps even more. You poke your finger into the surface and if you feel moisture you are fine. An extra minute of digging around the burlap would have enabled him to feel under the root ball to see how dry it really is down there.

    His mulch cover either shed or soaked the sprinkler water which didn't leave much for the root ball before it timed out again. It was well over 65% of all the plantings over 2 ft. tall died on that job even up on the flats.
    Over thinking and over educating is not a good thing when you can't understand the basic reason for massive failure. This is a serious problem for LCOs and that is why a discussion board is profitable if the discussion is :)
  3. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,335

    If your draining to a sandy subsoil, it will probably end up there anyhow.

    I agree, where appropriate.

    Tall doesn't necessarily mean deep.

    Agreed. Grass, annuals, perennials, sub-shrubs, shrubs are all good for preventing erosion.

    It varies with the type of grass, climate, and soil, but on average that generally applies.

    Check out the CIMIS website.

    Look at the sample monthly data report for any county (Alameda will be fine). Note the ETo (measure of grass ET) and how it relates to time of year and other environmental conditions.

    Then pick a county from one of the interior valleys and compare (San Joaquin would be a good one). Note the dramatic difference in ETo -> especially during summer months. Even on the coast, in the height of summer ETo is more than 1 in/week on average. Go inland and that summer average is closer to 2 in/week.

    This is the reason why I recommend people do not follow blanket recommendations. A landscapes water requirements are dependent on the site conditions (plants, soil, climate, micro-climates, etc..). A person responsible for water management needs to understand how these all fit together in order to maximize water use efficiency.

    Talk about water waste. :nono: Watering an entire irrigation zone to establish a couple of plants is like driving a finishing nail into a fine piece of furniture with a sledge hammer.

    Furthermore -> why is turf and shrubs on the same zone to begin with?

    Not knowing anything about this site, I would think at least a temporary drip system would have been an appropriate choice to establish the shrub(s).
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    There was a lot of little stuff planted on the hillside as well that came out of pots and did ok.

    Exactly !! It is so frustrating.

    We have soils and environment that vary from one side of a hill to another around here. Getting people to adjust the water accordingly is always made tougher when they are told that 5 times a week is the way it needs to be, whether spring, summer or fall. Lots of bad ideas out there.

    When they replanted the shrubs I cleared the drip system with the project manager because I made it clear, that I will help but I am not taking responsibility for these new plantings either. They all looked good at the end of the season and why temporary drip wasn't done on the first batch I can't say.
    I should hire a crew and go bid on these sort of jobs myself...

    ...No- I don't think so.
  5. PHS

    PHS LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 724

    Kiril, That was a nice article on estimating irrigation needs. On page 17 the discussion leads into the water requirements of a single tiered planting vs. a multi-tiered planting and that the water requirements are higher for the latter.
  6. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,335

    Yes. Also orientation, slope, exposure, hardscape and other heat sources, soil type, etc... will all come into play when determining hydrozones and the water needs of those zones.

    For turf, the most problematic multi-tier relationship that seems to confuse many people is trees planted in turf.

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