Math skills come in handy for yard work

  • Wednesday, August 8, 2012

This past Saturday on our radio show ("The Garden Clinic" on WTMA from noon to 1 p.m. on Saturday) Paul and I got a call from a guy that wanted to put out a wetting agent, but had no idea what the square footage of his yard is. We were having a hard time convincing him to measure his landscape, so he would know how much product to apply (whether it is a wetting agent, fertilizer or control product knowing the size of your yard is crucial).
Knowing the square footage of your grass areas and bed areas are key to applying any fertilizer or control product correctly. An old bathroom scale and bucket also aid in the proper application of products. If your yard is 8,000 square feet and you want to apply a product at 4 pounds per thousand square feet, then 8 times 4 is equal to 32 pounds of product. Get a bathroom scale and a five gallon bucket. Pour 32 pounds into the bucket and apply it equally across the yard.
I can remember several times hearing different variations of this same answer to my question while at the counter at Possum's.
"How many square feet is your yard?"
Rough answer," well, last year I put out that bag that covers 5,000 square feet and it was perfect for my yard, so I must have 5,000 square feet." Sorry, wrong answer.
Based on a pound of nitrogen, we sell 50 pound bags that cover as much as 23,000 square feet and as little as 1,000 square feet. Unfortunately, the bag does not know the size of our yards or how fast you walk.
In the old days, yards were mostly square or rectangular, and they were easy to measure. Now most yards have curvy bed lines that sweep across the landscape, making them more difficult to measure. If you can break the yard up into little squares or rectangles, and measure the length and the width then you can get your square footage.
Length multiplied by width will give you your square footage. Add up all the squares and rectangles that you measured the square feet of, and you will come up with the square footage of your yard.
If this sounds like total "Greek or Geek" to you, ask a landscaper, a realtor, a landscape architect, someone that works with floors or carpets, an engineer, a construction worker, someone who pours driveways or anyone else that regularly needs to measure the square footage of something to help you.
Your plat map from when you purchased your house might help as well.
Now, there are even websites that you can log onto and they will tell you the square footage of your yard. Of course, I like to do it the old fashion way - length times width.
I know this measuring seems like a pain, but most of us stay in a house for several years or decades. A little pain spread over several years of having very useful information is worth it.
Once you measure the yard, put the measurements in about 5 to 10 locations throughout your house, your car (so you have it with you when you go to buy product) and the garage, so you do not lose them. I have learned over the years that I put information like that in one "special place" so I do not lose the information. I then forget where that "special place" is!
(Bill Lamson-Scribner can be reached during the week at Possum's Landscape and Pest Control Supply. Possum's has three locations 481 Long Point Rd in Mount Pleasant (971-9601), 3325 Business Circle in North Charleston (760-2600), or 606 Dupont Rd, in Charleston (766-1511). Bring your questions to a Possum's location, or visit us at possumsupply.com. You can also call in your questions to " The Garden Clinic", Saturdays from noon to 1 p.m. on 1250 WTMA (The Big Talker). The Horticulture Hotline is available 24 / 7 at possumsupply.com.)

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