Well, stop the presses, we’ve actually gotten some rain lately!
That, of course, doesn’t mean the drought is over. It will take more than a couple of storms to dig California out of this multi-year drought. The last calendar year was the driest year on record since 1885 for nine out of 11 climate regions tracked by the California Department of Water Resources.
So far, 2014 has been marginally better: Rainfall was zero percent of normal in downtown Los Angeles for January, but rebounded with a strong February (123 percent of normal, with 3.58 inches of precipitation). Final totals for March are expected to be respectable, and April kicked off with an overnight storm that kept Southern California soggy on April 1.
Graphic: California Department of Water Resources
So, here we are, in the midst of a drought, with soaked turf. We’re grateful for the rain — but we want to make sure our clients’ landscapes receive the proper care, too, whether conditions are wet or dry.
That’s why the Stay Green team constantly monitors weather conditions and modifies our activities as needed. The last thing you want to see on a beautifully landscaped turf area is row upon row of muddy lawnmower wheel prints. So, when the soil is soaked, we hold off on mowing until the conditions permit us to trim clients’ grass without mucking things up.
We also routinely employ a number of best practices that protect our clients’ turf against overwatering, particularly when Mother Nature kicks in a little “free irrigation” in the form of rain. These include:
- Evapotranspiration-based controllers: These “ET” controllers exemplify weather-smart irrigation. ET is the amount of water lost through evaporation in addition to “transpiration,” a plant’s water loss. ET-based controllers precisely monitor weather conditions and only water when needed.
- Matched precipitation rates and water pressure regulation: The Stay Green team uses water pressure regulators to ensure correct water flow, and we also strategically utilize state-of-the-art matched precipitation rate irrigation nozzles, which allow sprinklers with different radii and arcs to be mixed in the same area while still maintaining even water distribution rates.
- Regular inspections by our experts: Our team routinely inspects client landscapes to ensure distribution uniformity, a measurement of how uniformly water is applied to irrigated areas. Regular physical inspections also ensure that irrigation and drainage systems are performing efficiently. And, if heavily shaded areas are staying too wet for too long, we’ll prune trees accordingly.
It’s all about adjusting to the conditions to ensure that client landscapes don’t end up in a muddy mess. And, as much as we remain concerned about the long-term dry conditions that have been negatively impacting California’s water supplies, we also continuously stay on top of weather conditions that may dictate changes in how the Stay Green team needs to manage client landscapes.
Meanwhile, send more rain. California needs it!