Well, it's hot, so the grass is not doing all that well.
There is still green under all that straw, but I'd like it to be spreading, and it's not, much.
Now, like all the oldtimers that are intimately familiar with the rock and gravel that's underneath the grass, I had assumed that all the water was wicking right down through it, and draining away.
However, Reid and I went out early one morning right after the sprinklers had stopped and dug a few strategic holes, and it looks like that's not the case. At 70% of nominal run time, it just isn't penetrating very far into the dirt.
So I've changed the watering strategy.
Zones 1 and 2, out on the Southeast corner, which are not used much, will not get very much water. I'd like to keep it alive, but I'd rather have flourishing lawn on the areas we use most for kiting and landing and tearing down. The only operations that really take place out there in that area are generally the result of a mistake, or a flush cycle, with multiple people landing at once.
Zones 3,4,5 and 6 will get a heavy soaking on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Zones 7,8,9 and 10 will get a heavy soaking on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
Everything gets an equally light sprinkle on Sunday.
The idea is to use about the same total amount of water, but get it deeper, where we'll lose less to evaporation, and the roots have easier access to it. It's an experiment. We'll see how it goes.
The gopher blaster is working. It makes a loud noise. It's more work than you'd think, because gophers block their tunnels, so you have to dig a hole to access their tunnel, and make sure there are no obstructions with the rest of the tunnel. When it works right it's spectacular; dirt fountains up from multiple holes, sometimes from holes you didn't see under the grass. Echoes come back. When it squibs due to not having an unobstructed tunnel, it's still loud, but you don't get the earth moving. I'm looking on the internet for an auger to go on an electric drill. Then I can probe to find the tunnel, drill a hole without having all the dirt fall down inside, and increase my chances of a good bang with less work.
The Gopher Blaster goes through oxygen pretty quick. Dan tells me it's $20 or so for a refill. I was paying ~$8 a pound or so for the gopher pellets, so I think this may be a wash in terms of cost.
When it cools off this fall, I want the club to rent a vibrating roller and flatten the LZ. This should kill a number of gophers all by itself. Having the dirt too compacted isn't good for the grass, I'm learning from my reading, so then I'd like to "vertically mow" the lawn (this slices the mat of grass roots vertically, making it easier for water to penetrate) plug aerate the lawn (pulls plugs out of the grass mat, allowing water to penetrate) and very lightly mulch the entire lawn.