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Water, water everywhere causes problems
Grass is always greener...
Don GardnerColor
Don Gardner is an ag and natural-resources agent for the University of Georgias Glynn County Extension. - photo by File photo

Remember a few years ago, when we were in a drought and rain was a scarce commodity? Seems the pendulum has swung decidedly the other way.

I remember driving through Richmond Hill in the rain and hoping it was raining at home in Keller as well, but being disappointed when 144 turned dry as a bone before I got home. Not this summer and decidedly not this Labor Day weekend! My yard is now jurisdictional wetland. Way too wet to mow. I’d need a lawn tractor with pontoons. Deep enough for an airboat. I may have to turn to triploid grass carp to keep the thing mowed. When egrets start doing their slow high-stepping through your lawn, take that as a clue that it might be too wet for yard work.

Maybe by the time you read this, it will be drained enough to venture into the yard again. Here are a few things you should check on the next time you venture out:

• With the intense rain many of us have received, some of the mulch, especially pine bark, may have migrated. Check around the perimeter of the foundation of your home. There should be no organic mulch within a foot of your home’s foundation. Usually, the dripline from the edge of the roof is far enough away from the foundation that mulch can be placed there to break the rainfall and stop dirt from being splashed against the side of your home. If dirt is being splashed there, you can be sure the rainwater driving the dirt and sand is also soaking the siding. The best way to keep termites out of your home is to keep the home dry. Controlling the splashing of water onto the lower edge of your home is a good place to start. The zone of soil within 1 foot of your foundation is the area your termite-control company uses to treat with insecticide to stop termites approaching the structure. This 1-foot perimeter around the home is a chemical barrier. Never disturb the soil in this area with plantings because the cultivation breaks the chemical barrier and allows termites a clear path into your home. We also want to keep this area free of mulch because mulch provides two things termites need: a source of moisture and a bridge over the chemical barrier in the soil. So check the home perimeter and make sure your termite perimeter is not breached. At the same time, you do this walk-around inspection, look for soil tubes running up the side of your home from the ground. Termites need high humidity to maintain themselves and build soil tubes much the same way as mud-dauber wasps build brood chambers. If you find one, don’t destroy the evidence! Call the pest control company that carries your termite-control contract and ask them for an inspection. These problems do not get better with time. Early detection keeps repair costs manageable.

• The next issue to check out is ponding areas that could breed mosquitoes. Seven days of still water is all it takes to generate a new batch of mosquitoes. Let’s just say we are now in a target-rich environment. Dump out anything holding water that you do not want to be holding water. Having the county spray your neighborhood for mosquitoes will not be as effective in preventing you getting bitten as you draining those empty-but-water-filled flower pots at your back door will be. And yes, wear repellent when you go out of doors. You are in south Jawjah. You are in coastal Jawjah. We have mosquitoes. Don’t call the county to complain about mosquitoes in your neighborhood if you are not wearing repellent when you go outside and have pots, cans and old tires holding water and breeding mosquitoes by the billions in your yard. A lot of the mosquito problem in coastal Georgia was succinctly put by Pogo: We have met the enemy, and he is us.

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