JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It's time to service the mower and set up the sprinklers.
In spring, homeowners shift into high gardening gear -- weeding, watering, fertilizing, planting and pruning. It requires a lot of work to keep an average-size lawn lush and flower beds looking their best.
Now, imagine you are Fred Klauk. He has acres of grounds, greens and fairways and more than 20,000 begonias and impatiens to tend.
Klauk is superintendent of The Tournament Players Club at Sawgrass.
"I usually work from 6:30 in the morning to 4 or so in the afternoon," Klauk said. "But when it's time to prepare for the tournament, days begin about 4 a.m."
How often does he check the Weather Channel?
"Oh, about three or four times an hour," he joked. "No, really... about once an hour."
Klauk has a crew of 62 and about a million and a half dollars worth of equipment to help keep the course in top condition. And though he has concerns no homeowner will ever have -- green speeds, divot replacement, PGA guidelines for height of grass in fairways and on the greens -- Klauk can offer the average home gardener three important tips.
* Stay sharp: Sharpen the blades on your lawn mower at least every third of fourth time you mow. Dull blades tear grass instead of cutting it, leading to discoloration and making the grass more susceptible to diseases. Plus the result is not as aesthetically pleasing. Rather than looking smooth and uniform, the lawn looks raggedy.
* Water watch: Do not rely on the automatic time settings on your irrigation system. If it rains enough to soak the yard at night, sprinklers don't need to come on in the morning.
"One day a couple of weeks ago, I was driving to work, and it was raining," Klauk said, shaking his head. "And I saw somebody's sprinklers on in the yard."
* Second watch: Another reason not to water the lawn too much is that a damp lawn develops diseases such as brown patch more easily than lawns that are watered appropriately.
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