Keeping greens green during the drought

By Audrey Williams

Keeping greens green during the drought

July 13, 2012 Updated Jul 13, 2012 at 8:04 PM CDT

BARTONVILLE, Ill -- Widely-scattered rainfall Friday isn't changing the severe drought status in Central Illinois. It also isn't doing much to change the color of the grass.

Tim Neavill has the tough job of keep up the grounds at Coyote Creek Golf Course. He says this has been the strangest year of weather in his 27 years of experience. And keeping the greens green is no easy task.

"We do a lot of hand watering. I have two or three guys that probably spend 8 hours a day pulling hoses like I just did," said Neavill.

Neavill says they irrigate the course every night and hand water dry spots everyday.

"We have 4 lakes that are all tied together which gives us about 50 days worth of water if we don't get any rain and I'd say we've gone through half of that right now," he said.

Ella Maxwell with Hoerr Nursery says watering at home is also very important. For trees she says let a hose trickle water once every week to two weeks until the soil is saturated.

"Keep those trees hydrated or they are going to lose a significant amount of leaves and it might make them more vulnerable to other insect or disease problems later in the season," said Maxwell.

For flowers and shrubs she suggests watering a couple times per week. And grass should get about half an inch to an inch of water per week.

"It can go dormant or brown and then when the conditions change and we get more available moisture it should green back up again. But if its under severe drought stress it won't recover and the money your saving not watering now you'll be spending later on seeding in the fall," said Maxwell.

On the plus side mowing fairways at Coyote Creek is down from twice a week to just once. All in an effort to keep the course in good shape during these dog days of summer.

"Considering the weather, the heat and the lack of rain, I'd say were in very good shape," said Neavill.

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