By Kerry HarrisonUniversity of GeorgiaSpring has started on a hot, dry note, and the music will not likely change any time soon. Go ahead and check sprinkler systems now. Many lawns are already growing like it’s early summer. Make sure the sprinkler heads are properly adjusted and not spraying too far out or too close in. Look for signs of broken risers beneath the sprinklers. Sometimes this is obvious: You’ll have a traffic stopping geyser. A cracked riser will allow water to boil up around the sprinkler.Inspect the sprinkler riser wiper seal for water flow. A small amount of water emitting past the wiper seal is acceptable while the system is running. Excessive water flow while a system is operating indicates a damaged seal.Many times people will replace a sprinkler because it leaks between the wiper seal and pop up stem after the system has turned off. This leakage doesn’t indicate a problem. If water drains out after the system has turned off and eventually stops, the valve is fine.For spray heads with filters under the nozzle, hold the pop up stem and unscrew the nozzle carefully. A damaged nozzle may cause an uneven spray pattern. A damaged pop up stem will result in a poorly performing wiper seal. Remove and clean the filter.To clean clogged nozzles, flush with water or lightly tap it on a firm surface. While the filter is out, turn on the sprinkler and flush out the sprinkler body. Reinstall the filter and nozzle, turn on the zone and recheck for effective coverage. Make all of the necessary adjustments to cover the area properly. While the water is on, inspect the other heads in the zone for proper operation.To clean filters installed under the pop up stem, unscrew the cap from the body. Don’t allow dirt to fall into the sprinkler body while the riser assembly and cap are removed.The filter is at the bottom of the riser assembly. Remove it and flush it with water. Before reinstalling the assembly, run a small amount of water through the system to flush any debris caught in the sprinkler body.It’s very important to replace broken or poorly performing sprinkler heads. When a specific sprinkler isn’t operating as it’s designed or if water is flowing freely because of a worn wiper seal, the performance of all the other heads in the zone is affected. Water flowing unchecked past a wiper seal will cause a loss in pressure and affect the other sprinklers’ performances.Valve problems can be hard to fix. Check with a professional if you think you have valve troubles.
As the weather grows cooler most landscape plants begin to go dormant. Fall is an excellent time to install new plant material. Many home gardeners like to install plants in the spring when their leaves are unfurling and many go into bloom. Spring planting is acceptable, but fall planting is preferable. The summer months are not good for planting due to the intense heat and prolonged dry spells.Newly installed plant material, even if properly watered, is highly stressed and can die. In the fall months, the air temperatures have cooled and the plants are not under as much stress. The stems and leaves will begin going dormant, but the roots will continue to grow in the soil. Cold weather gives the plant more time to become established and develop a strong, healthy root system. By the following spring and summer, the plants will be more resistant to heat and drought conditions. Spring-planted trees and shrubs have a much shorter period of time to become established. This makes them more vulnerable to the stresses of summer.For trees and shrubs, dig the width of the hole at least one and one-half to two times the size of the root ball. Plant it at the same depth as it was in the container. Do not install the plant’s crown below soil level. Planting too deeply can lead to rot and other problems leading to damage and possible death of the plant material. Research has shown adding organic matter, like compost or top soil, to the hole is not necessary. The plant’s roots might be so happy in the rich soil that it prevents their roots from growing out into the native soil. However, when planting a bed of multiple trees and shrubs, add organic matter and till it in throughout the entire planting bed. Do not fill the individual holes with organic matter.When purchasing plants, select plants that appear healthy and free of insects and diseases. Pull the plant out of the pot and examine the roots. Healthy roots should be white or light brown and spread throughout the root ball. Avoid plants with black mushy roots, or those with poorly developed root systems. If plants roots are matted around the edge of the root ball, use a knife and make a few cuts to break up the mat and allow the roots to spread. Do not apply fertilizer to the individual planting holes. Wait until the plants become established before fertilizing. Thoroughly water the plants once or twice a week. Apply two to three inches of mulch, such as pine straw, pine bark or cypress mulch, around the plants. Do not mass mulch around the stems of the trees and shrubs. This can lead to disease and insect infestation of the stem. Fall is the best time of the year to establish trees, shrubs, and many types of perennials. Install these plants now to enjoy them in the spring and into the future. For more information on fall plantings, contact your local University of Georgia Extension office at 1-800-ASK-UGA1.
“I had the option of working with a fastball,” Grandal said, “and hoping that when I called the secondary pitch he was going to make a good pitch or at least be around the zone.”Urías still pitched the game of his life. In his brief career he’d never allowed only one hit in a start longer than three innings, or taken a shutout into the seventh. In fact, his 6-1/3 innings is his longest outing in the majors or minors. Only three other pitchers have taken a no-hitter into the seventh inning this season.The Dodgers’ coaches had implored Urías to throw more strikes after the left-hander walked four batters in each of his first two starts. Urías resisted, starting his first five at-bats Tuesday with a pitch out of the strike zone.But he only walked two of the 22 men he faced and struck out five. One batter reached on an error when Urías clasped his glove too quickly on a routine ground ball.“A no-hitter, I think, is just faith,” Grandal said. “If it’s your day for a no-hitter you’re going to do it whether you’re throwing just fastballs or all secondary pitches. I don’t really think about it. Once it starts getting into the eighth or maybe ninth inning, then we’ve got something else.”Said Urías, “I knew it was out of my hands.”By the seventh inning, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was getting nervous. He decided Urías would throw no more than 110 pitches; he’d never thrown more than 112 in a game. Urías needed 83 pitches to complete six innings.“Mexican Heritage Night, pitch count started creeping up there, I’ve got to take this young kid out of a no-hitter — I think 45,000 fans would’ve really come down on me,” Roberts said.When Andrew McCutchen led off the seventh inning with a ground-rule double against Urias, Roberts had larger concerns. The inning, and the Dodgers’ 2-0 lead, was about to unravel.Left fielder Andrew Toles couldn’t corral McCutchen’s hit and hurt himself crashing into the wall. He would leave the game with an injured right knee. An MRI is scheduled for Wednesday.Sergio Romo relieved Urías and gave up one run, in part the result of a poor defensive play by Kiké Hernandez — Toles’ replacement in left field. Luis Avilan relieved Romo and gave up another run. Suddenly the score was tied, 2-2.In the eighth inning, John Jaso pinch hit for the Pirates and hit a solo home run against Pedro Baez — only the second run Baez has allowed this season.Trailing 3-2 in the ninth inning, Corey Seager and Justin Turner singled for the Dodgers with two outs, putting runners on first and second against Pirates closer Tony Watson. Bellinger smoked a single to right field against the left-hander, tying the score, 3-3. Watson hadn’t blown a save opportunity in eight tries before Tuesday.The 10th inning presented a new challenge. Roberts was operating with a four-man bench. In the afternoon, he told pitcher Ross Stripling to prepare to pinch run, just in case the game went long.That’s how Stripling found himself on first base after Grandal led off the 10th inning with a single against Pittsburgh’s Daniel Hudson. Chris Taylor failed to lay down a bunt and struck out. Hudson struck out Yasiel Puig for the second out.Barnes then pinch hit for Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen (2-0), swung at the first thing he saw, and delivered the unlikeliest hit of them all: a double that split the gap in right-center field and rolled all the way to the wall. Stripling rounded the bases and scored without a slide.For Barnes, a seldom-used backup catcher, it was just his third RBI of the season.“I think you have to be ready to hit right away,” he said. “Giving away strikes, taking at-bats like you would when you’re starting, it’s tough. It’s one AB so be ready to hit.”Grandal hit a two-run home run off Pirates starter Ivan Nova in the fourth inning. It was his fourth home run of the season and his first since April 23.In the seventh inning, Grandal thought he had another home run until Gregory Polanco tracked the ball down in right field, 360 feet from home plate.Grandal finished 3 for 5, his second straight multi-hit game. Ten other Dodgers collected one hit apiece. Urías lost the no-hitter in the top of the seventh inning. The Dodgers very nearly lost the game before an RBI single by Cody Bellinger in the bottom of the ninth tied the score. In the 10th inning, Austin Barnes drove in pitcher Ross Stripling with the winning run in the Dodgers’ 4-3 victory.The universe of unlikely heroes gained a few new stars.Start with Urías. Catcher Yasmani Grandal said the left-hander “literally had no secondary pitches” in his third start of the season for the Dodgers. LOS ANGELES >> Sol De Mexico, an 11-piece mariachi ensemble familiar to generations south of the border, held a concert before the Dodgers played the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday. Had Julio Urías thrown a no-hitter, he might have insisted la banda warm up the crowd every time he pitches.Urías, 20, believes in superstition enough to skip over the third-base line every time he runs to and from the mound. He always wears his blue socks up to his knees. He stopped short of giving teammates the silent treatment for the first six innings Tuesday when the Pirates couldn’t get a hit. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
WASHINGTON D.C.- House Ag Committee Chair Collin Peterson of Minnesota and a group of bipartisan lawmakers sent a letter to the Chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The letter sent on behalf of farmers and rural residents in the Midwest is intended to bring awareness of the need for a continued supply of propane to the Midwest states.The letter details how farmers and grain elevator operators are dealing with propane shortages while trying to finish harvest and prepare their grain for storage. The propane shortage is hitting because of early cold temperatures in the region, which has picked up residential use of propane to heat homes. Back in 2014, the commission took extraordinary measures to address catastrophic conditions and shortages of propane.The letter is intended to remind commissioners that they do have the tools needed to help address the conditions facing rural communities. The letter says, “We hope to avoid a disastrous situation with cold temperatures and snow in the forecast spiking demand for residential deliveries just as farms are needing to heat poultry and livestock barns. Crop farmers also need to dry down their commodities after one of the most frustrating harvest seasons in years.”