Pinellas County

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Ask The Green Expert...
Drought Again!?

This month, I thought it would be a good idea to write about the drought conditions we have been experiencing in Pinellas County, and much of the rest of Florida, for the past few years. But as soon as I sat at my computer and started typing, it started pouring down! The rain continued for much of the night, and gave my yard the best soaking it's had for months!

It would be nice to think that this was the first of many downpours, but unfortunately, I don't think we're going to be so lucky. Long range forecasts point to another year of substantially decreased rainfall, which will make this the fifth year in succession, believe it or not. Although we had 48 inches of rain in 1998, (close to the annual average of 52 inches over the past 85 years), there were 6 months during that year when we received significantly less than the monthly norm. In April 1998, for example, we had only one twentieth of the average April rainfall. And this trend has continued up to today, with only a few months having average rainfall, and many having almost nothing.

For those interested, detailed rainfall records are available in Excel spreadsheet form at This website also gives many tips on how to save water, but it doesn't tell you how to save your lawn and plants in prolonged drought conditions! If we have to rely on watering only once a week, then inevitably, we are going to lose turf and shrubs. There are a few things you can do to reduce this risk, and I will list them here:

  • Check that your irrigation system is set correctly to deliver one inch of water to your lawn each week. Since you can only water once, each zone should be timed according to the designed delivery rate of your sprinklers.
  • Make sure you have enough mulch in your planting beds - at least 3 inches.

  • Water early in the morning, rather than the evening (you can't water during the day!).

  • Check sprinkler systems and timing devices regularly to be sure they operate properly, and the water is directed where it should be - not on the street or sidewalk.


For Associations, I strongly recommend that you have a professional irrigation specialist to maintain your system every month.

A few hundred spent on prevention...________________________

___________________will save thousands on replacement.

By DJ Overbeck "The Green Expert" only at...

Florida Environmental Care!

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David "DJ" Overbeck

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