Same blog, new location!

11 01 2010

I am enjoying the blogging, but found myself feeling a little constrained by the free WordPress templates that were available.  To address this, I have created a new blog on an externally hosted site.  You can find my blog at its new home here:

See you there!!


Save some money and do something good for the environment

19 12 2009

I find it hard to believe that it is less than a week away from Christmas.  Where has the year gone?

Well, while I probably lack the ability to explain why time flies by so quickly, I can offer some advice that might help you save some money this winter.

Face it.  This is December.  Day length is short and temperatures have cooled off.  This all leads to a reduction in the amount of water needed by our lawns and landscapes.  In fact, if you live north of Orlando there is a good chance that you can turn your irrigation off for the next two to three months.  That’s right, turn it off.

The cool temperatures that we have right now will force our lawns into winter dormancy.  The turfgrass plants have been working hard all summer and deserve some time off.  How do you know if your lawn is dormant?  If the majority of the canopy has turned to a straw color the grass is in a state of dormancy and as a result, it does not require irrigation for survival.

Not only will shutting your irrigation of reduce the amount of water used on your monthly bill, it might pay dividends throughout the year.  You see, some utilities use your water consumption during the winter months to determine your wastewater charges for the remainder of the year.  Reducing your use now will save you money all year long!

Curious to learn more about irrigation requirements throughout Florida?  Check out the Florida Automated Weather Network (FAWN) website for a variety of cool tools.  One that I think you will find valuable is the “Urban Irrigation Scheduler” which will provide guidance regarding the proper run times for various irrigation zones in your landscape.  Research has shown that many homeowners over irrigate their lawns.  Don’t be one of them!

They could use a little help…

14 12 2009

I came across something new (at least new to me) this weekend.  During a trip to Sarasota I found the Sarasota Lawn Bowling Club’s facilities located at 810 Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL‎.

Bowling greens might provide a new research opportunity

I have to admit, I was unfamiliar with lawn bowling.  I had visions of pins and 12 lb balls being thrown on the grass, which were quickly followed by the thought that it would leave one heck of a ball mark to repair.  As it turns out, the sport has a long history, dating to the 13th century. My main concern with what I saw was the quality of the turf (now I’m wishing I had taken pictures).  The bermudagrass looked like it could really use some help.  You can see in this Google Maps image that this is probably the norm.

It looks like the bowling greens could use some help!

Winter storm brings snow to Florida lawns

9 12 2009

An unexpected winter storm swept across parts of Tampa leaving behind a flurry of snow covered yards.  That’s right, snow in Florida.  On the grass.  Beautiful, fluffy white snow.

A little white turf paint makes for a nice touch of winter

Looking for a little more of the holiday spirit? Maybe a snow-covered lawn wil help!

Okay, not exactly.  VIP Pest Control in Tampa is offering a unique service to customers this holiday season.  Their “Snow Service” can bring a little glimpse of snow to your 80 degree days.  I am not sure how popular the service is at this point, but I think they might be on to something.  One of the local news channels picked up the story and ran it on their site, which I am sure is good for business.

It’s really a fun and simple idea.  Many people, myself included, wish they had some visual indication that we are nearing the Holiday Season.  Those of us that have lived in northern climates often rely on freezing cold temperatures, slick roads, and, of course, snow.  I personally find it hard to believe that it is December already.  This might help.

You might be asking “But, how?”  It is simple.  They are using the same paints that are frequently used to paint the lines on athletic fields.  They are water-soluble paints that are safe for the turf and will not cause any long-term damage.

Water Management District Adds Teeth to Watering Restrictions

7 12 2009

Watering restrictions are not new to anyone living in Florida.  Particularly along the western coastline.  Earning much attention from the media due to the concern surrounding the potential damage that might result to lawns along with the argument that lawns irrigation uses too much of our fresh water supply.

It was common to hear through the grapevine that people would frequently violate the watering restrictions based on the low risk of being caught.  The system relied on violators being turned in by neighbors or others passing by since there were not enough staff members to canvas the streets looking for the errant irrigation sprinkler.  That is not the case any longer.

I came across an article in the Ocala newspaper that details plans by the St. Johns River Water Management District to hire a private company who will be responsible for monitoring a large portion of the district.  It will be interesting to watch/listen to this develop as I have a feeling that many people have been ignoring the rules for one reason or another.  That may not be safe to do from this point forward.

It must be immune to canine disease…

6 12 2009

Perusing my Drs. Foster and Smith catalog this evening I came across a new item that will allow anyone, and I mean ANYONE, to have a small lawn inside their house, regardless of how limited space may be.  You have to check it out.  I wonder how our dogs, each of which weigh over 120lbs, would respond to being offered this piece of greenspace as a place to relieve themselves.

It does not say anything about size limitations...

Changes to fertilizer ordinance in Pinellas County

3 12 2009

I came across an article in a recent email that details changes in a fertilizer ban currently in place in Pinellas County.  The article is an interesting read by itself when you consider the fact that very little effort is put into substantiating claims being made by certain environmental groups related to fertilizer use in the landscape.  The part that really caught my attention was the long list of comments left by people from the community that can be found at the bottom of the page.  Growing up in Idaho I know how important water availability and water quality can be and how easily the discussion can become heated.  It would be nice if people (reporters, general public, policy makers, etc) would be willing to make an effort to understand the research, both past and present, explaining nutrient uptake and fate in the urban landscape.  If they would, they would see that things like summer black-out periods for fertilization are not based on sound science and as such, are not good decisions for the environment.