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Spring has finally arrived in full force in Tulsa, with trees, shrubs, and lawns coming back to life after a long, cold winter. At least most are coming back. With the droughts we’ve experienced, and then a very cold winter, some trees and shrubs have been damaged, or even killed. My Redbud tree I planted two years ago had no blooms on it and is totally dead. I had several burning bushes that were killed back, with little sprigs of green showing from the base. Even some of my ornamental grasses are not showing signs of new green growth. And I took care of these plants, with good watering and fertilization, or so I thought. But it just goes to show you that even if we think we are doing all the right things, mother nature is still in charge. It appears that the extreme weather has just caught up with some of my plants, and sent them over the edge.

2 Year Old Redbud

My 2-year old Redbud didn't make it!

Older, more mature trees and shrubs are fine, as they have an extensive root system. Certain plants are just hardier than others against the challenges of weather and soil conditions. For example, my Photenias are doing great, as are some of my other plantings from two years ago.

So now is a good time to re-plant new trees and shrubs, replacing ones that are either dead or just not doing well. I planted a new Japanese Maple where my Redbud was, and it looks great. I’ll prune back dead growth on certain shrubs, so that new growth can come in and grow. We are still very dry in Tulsa, over 6” below normal so far this year. So we really need some good spring rains and storms, or it could be a long summer for lawns and landscapes in Tulsa.

It does appear that most bermudagrass lawns in the Tulsa area are recovering from that April 15th hard freeze, and showing good signs of new green growth. There are some areas of winterkill though, which does not surprise me with the winter we’ve had. The damage is rather spotty, and should fill in when the weather turns nice and hot, along with some good rains or irrigation.

It’s a great time for fertilizer, as that, along with warmer temperatures and good rains or irrigation will bring them totally out from winter dormancy and into the green and growing mode. We’re anxious for the bermudagrass lawns to get going, as a thick, healthy, growing turf helps choke out late spring weeds also. So get your mower blade sharp, as lawns will need to be mowed weekly from now into summer.

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