National Sprinklerhead Day

Never dreamed having a lawn would be so much work. We apply great amounts of energy, water, nutrients and still it goes brown, dry, splotchy. Research: Lawn mites? Enough water? Thatch? Aeration? Soil penetrant? Dude at American Soil Products suggests it’s just too old — lawns apparently have lifespans. Said it’s probably time to rip it out and start from seed (he’s not a sod fan). Not ready to go there yet (the back yard is new sod six months old, it has its own set of problems).

Decided to resuscitate the decrepit, corroded, half-working original sprinkler system — manual watering is just too much labor for our schedules. Timer works fine, but the heads are whack. Took a vacation day and dug out 12 old Champion heads, installed new Rain Birds. Better, but needs tuning. 90% of the job is locating and digging out the old heads through rocks, under sidewalk underhangs, creeping roots…

Three trips for teflon pipe tape: Once when I ran out, again when Miles absconded with a roll, and the third when a roll vanished into thin air. Looked everywhere, time running out, gave up, got in the car again. As soon as I pulled into the street, saw it in the middle of the road — it had rolled into traffic and been run over. A bit crunched, but still teflon-y enough to work.

Amazed to study the water bill for May and June — we averaged 190 gallons per day, most of that going into the lawn I’m sure. And here we are concerned about low-flush toilets and the Water Miser setting on the dishwasher. With the century’s impending global water crisis, we’ll all have desert-themed yards soon anyway. Now I see why so many retirees decided to do the yard in a quaint gravel theme — throw on a few dead pine cones for good measure and call it a day.

Music: Gong :: Bodilingus

9 Replies to “National Sprinklerhead Day”

  1. What’s really amazing is all of the lawn farmers you’ll see in the middle of the California desert, where water has been piped over mountains only to be dumped onto plants that really have no right to be so green under such sun.

    The earth will bow before the first person who ships an artificial replacement for grass which has the tactile and visual qualities of the real thing. Astroturf was a success, and it feels like sandpaper.

  2. Dude, ditch the lawn. Dan has lawn fever as well, pampering his first lawn all weekend. Our neighborhoods are full of examples of lawn replacements that aren’t gravel or painted concrete. Even my sister in conservative Roseville has gotten rid of most of her lawn for a rock “streambed” and rosebushes. Keep the backyard for Miles to play in, replace a chunk of the front with native grasses, shrubs and perennials.

    Oh, and gnomes, don’t forget the gnomes. Gnomes are cool.

    And a Kerry/Edwards sign.

  3. Pamitha, yeah, I overstated the case on non-lawn front yards just to poke fun at some of the stupid-er yards we see… We’re in the ever-so-slow process of replacing lawn with native plants… we’ve just had a lot of infrastructure stuff to do (removing the Lilly Pillies, creating flower beds, getting the water thing under control… ) Eventually the size of the lawn will diminish and be replaced with cooler stuff.

    Sprinklerheads can be replaced with drip irrigation mounts easily enough, which is what we’ll do as the project evolves.

  4. Trevor F. Smith wrote: What’s really amazing is all of the lawn farmers you’ll see in the middle of the California desert, where water has been piped over mountains only to be dumped onto plants that really have no right to be so green under such sun.

    He raises a salient point, and it dovetails with the linked article by Mr. Cotchett as well:

    http://www.mises.org/fullstory.asp?control=1557

    (Mr. Cotchett, I submit that, since corporations are not private companies but rather extensions of the state, the examples you cite of what you call “privatization” are really examples of “corporatization” (AKA corporatism), and that true privatization has not yet been tried.)

    pamitha wrote: replace a chunk of the front with native grasses, shrubs and perennials.

    Or a kitchen garden.

  5. At my house we have a hose attached to the back of the washing machine – the brown water goes out and waters the lawn daily. We just move it from spot to spot every few days and the lawn stays nice and green. Suprisingly, the lawn seems to thrive no matter the detergent or bleach or dyes that we might use.

    Might be a nice alternative for ya. :)

  6. Mowing and timing are key. Here in OR with our wet winters and springs, woowoo and I mow frequently. As the weather heats up, we raise the mower deck and leave more length. We don’t have to mow as frequently anyway in the hot dryness, and the additional length stores more moisture and ergo helps things stays greener.

  7. Annie –

    Unbelievable! I mean, I wouldn’t imagine the dirt sifting out of the clothes would be any problem for the lawn, but I’m just amazed to hear that the detergents aren’t killing your lawn. Any idea what kind of grass it is?

    Zonkers.

  8. mnep, we’ve read the same about less frequent mowings in summer – that’s a really good tip. Not that there’s a whole lot to mow now :(

    woowoo must be one of the all-time best pet names for a dame.

  9. Lawn farmers are the only farmers in the world that go to huge labor to feed and nurture their crop only to harvest it, and throw it into the trash. Lawns! What a good idea. Ours gets mown and fertilized by sheep. I have a lawn service so I wouldn’t even think of putting in a lawn. Container gardening works here. LOTS of containers with those cool little drippety things.

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