The Tampa Bay area has not had measurable rainfall since February 2020, and the temperatures have exceeded or tied records in the last month. This information can be found on the United States Drought Monitor, or can be seen on thermometers and symptoms of thirst shown in plants and grass. Irrigation systems will be working at maximum capacity, and plants can sometimes sustain with a well-designed and maintained system, but they will struggle to thrive without rainfall.
In our many years of working in the Tampa market, we have yet to see an irrigation system that operates without deficiencies. These deficiencies show themselves as brown/blue/gray areas in the lawn, wilting leaves on plants, and often on your water bill.
When we go into drought periods, typically March until mid to late June, Florida municipalities often tighten the water restrictions. In the case that the drought worsens and the municipalities cut down water usage, Fieldstone can help by implementing the following:
- Apply a product such as Moisture Manager that helps soil and plants retain water. While this does help alleviate stress on soil and plants, it is not a substitute for rain or irrigation.
- Ensure proper irrigation functionality and keep up with irrigation repairs during monthly inspections. Having a well-operating system will help keep the plants in good health.
- Herbicide and fertilizer applications may be reduced to prevent further injury. These products have the potential to dry plants and turf.
- Monitor turf for increased insect activity. Chinch bugs are notorious for targeting stressed turf grass.
- Some grass will benefit by NOT being cut or mowed. Mowing dry turf creates stress on the leaf blades, adding further injury.
- Some sites with inadequate irrigation systems may be told to hold off on new plant installations if the system is unable to support new plant material.
The drought is here and water restrictions are around the corner, which may create unfavorable growing conditions for plant material and turf grass. Irrigation will be critical at this time, but may not be enough in some scenarios. If you see that your lawn is dried out, browning or discolored, or anything else abnormal, please contact Fieldstone and we will provide pricing upon request.