It’s the final week of January, and we are in the midst of a beautiful stretch of winter weather in Oklahoma. After a very cloudy, dreary December, it’s nice to see the sun. It feels like spring is just around the corner, but don’t let that fool you, as we do like in Oklahoma. I suspect we’ll still see a snowfall or two at some point.
We are still in a long-term drought in Oklahoma, especially in the western part of the state. Yes, we did receive some decent rains last year in the Tulsa area, but still ended up below normal in precipitation. And now in late January, the soil is starting to become pretty dry now. If you have fescue turf, you’ll notice it’s a little on the brown side now. Cold temperatures will keep it from being nice and green during the winter, but with some good soil moisture, it will turn greener during these warmer stretches in winter we are enjoying now. So it’s a good idea to turn the sprinklers on just a little.
Bermudagrass and zoysiagrass are dormant, but the root system is still alive. We recommend to even irrigate warm-season turf if we go several weeks without significant moisture. Very dry soil will become colder than soil with some moisture, so extreme cold temperatures later in winter could lead to possible winterkill of bermudagrass. So keeping the soil somewhat moist during the winter is like insurance against winterkill. It does lessen the chances of that occurring.
Don’t let the warm and sunny weather fool you into thinking it’s time to scalp bermudagrass also. That’s not a good idea now. Yes, mowing just a little shorter will clean up the dormant turf, remove any leaves from the lawn, and it may look a little nicer. But don’t take it down to the soil, as we like to leave a thick, insulating layer of dormant grass over the crown and root system of the turf over the winter. Wait until after April 15th for any aggressive scalping of the turf.
With the nice weather, we’ve started applying our Early Spring Weed-Control Treatment, consisting of Barricade pre-emergent plus post-emergent herbicide for any existing weeds. This does need to be watered into the soil within a few days of treatment for best results.