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smart yards 1 How often do I mow my zoysiagrass? When do I prune my azaleas? How do you build a rain barrel? Answers to these questions and many more can be found in the Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s new app, “Smart Yards.”

Kerry Smith, co-coordinator of Extension’s Home Grounds team says the free application addresses many common garden-related questions.

“Smart Yards is designed to be a comprehensive pocket guide for all your yard work,” says Smith. “The app will answer questions and help you turn your yard into a smart and more sustainable yard.”

County Extension offices in Alabama field more questions related to lawns, gardens and the home landscape than any other subject area.

Extension Director, Dr. Gary Lemme says the Smart Yards app expands Extension’s outreach capabilities.

“People’s use of mobile technology continues to grow rapidly,” says Lemme. “This app puts the research-based information that Extension provides right in people’s hands. They don’t have to stop working in the yard to go inside and use the computer. They just have to grab their phone and launch the Smart Yards app.”

smart yards 2 Tyler Weldon, an outreach coordinator for Extension’s Home Grounds team, led the creation and development of the free application.

“We have developed the Smart Yards app for multiple platforms including iPhone, iPad, Windows and Android devices,” he says. “All you need to do is visit your device’s app store, search for Smart Yards and download it. Best of all, the app is free.”

The current version of the app addresses three areas: lawns, pruning and water.

The lawns section offers detailed information and helpful tips on bermuda, centipede, zoysia, St. Augustine and fescue lawns. You will find photos along with general information on mowing, maintenance, fertilization, weeds and insects.

Smith says that pruning can be one of the more challenging garden chores.

“The pruning section provides information you need to prune in confidence. You will find detailed information on when to prune trees and shrubs as well as diagrams to help you make the right cuts.”

smart yards 3 The final section of the app addresses water issues in the home landscape. This section provides extensive information on how individuals can make their yards and gardens more sustainable in water usage and management.

· Rain Garden: supplies photos and general information of the garden along with detailed information on how to plan, prepare and install your own rain garden.

· Rain Barrel: describes what a rain barrel is and how to install one. Start saving water by following the steps in this section.

· Water Quality: includes topics every homeowner should know. This section will help you understand and contribute a positive impact toward non-point source pollution and impervious surfaces.

The application includes a link to the Alabama Extension website,, if users have questions not answered in the app. Weldon adds there is a “contact us” link and that upgrades are planned for the app that will expand the current content.


Patsie DeMo

2/1/2014 6:56 AM
Love it!  Even as a Master Gardener I have to go the internet or "my books" and look up information for friends and family all the time.  This will put the correct information at my fingertips.  Now I won't have to say, "I think I'm right about that."

Love it!  Great tool, and every gardener loves tools!