January 7, 2009

Lawns

Raise the Blades —On your lawn mower during these hot summer months to the highest setting, especially if you have cool season fescue lawns. Experts tell us that the healthiest lawns are mowed at 4 inches during the summer to keep the roots cool and conserve moisture. If your lawn has a white hue rather than a green color after you mow, it is a good bet that your blades are too low.

Virginia Tech experts recommend that homeowners sharpen mower blades at least three times per growing season. A dull blade causes excess leaf damage and becomes a site for fungal entry, leading to a diseased lawn.

July is Smart Irrigation Month The peak water-usage month for lawns is July, but August is also a water-guzzler. To raise awareness of smart irrigation practices and water conservation, the Irrigation Association has named July Smart Irrigation Month.

According to the EPA, we are wasting more than 50 percent of the water when we irrigate our lawns and gardens—up to 1.5 billion gallons every day across the country. That’s not only a waste of money, but likely washing fertilizer into our waterways, adding to the nitrogen nutrients that contribute to algae blooms and fewer crabs. Overly wet lawns are also susceptible to fungus diseases when the night time temperatures remain high.

James City County has the largest public water supply system in Virginia that depends solely on groundwater (wells and aquifers), not on reservoirs. Between 60 and 70 percent of James City water customers irrigate their lawns. Since that water comes from a limited source, it’s the sixth year for mandatory watering regulations here. Hundreds of door tag warnings have already been issued for every-other-day watering violations. Patience may be wearing thin and fines may not be far behind.

If you suspect a leak in your irrigation system, look at your sub-meter to see if it’s moving slowly when the sprinklers are not on. Call a certified irrigation specialist. A pinhole-sized water leak can waste up to 170 gallons each month.

Rain Sensor Rebates — Are available in James City. If your irrigation system was installed without a rain sensor prior to March 8, 2005, and you are a JCSA customer, save your newly purchased rain sensor receipt. You may qualify for a reimbursement up to $50. Irrigation systems installed after that date are required to have a rain sensor and do not qualify for this rebate.

James City County announced even more rebates if a replacement washing machine, dishwasher, or toilet (after 8-1-08) are Energy Star compliant or high-efficiency, Contact JCC Environmental Education Coordinator, Beth Davis, at 757-253-6859.