Last year at this time of the season, we were experiencing the driest January and February on record in the Tulsa area. Well, here we go again. 2015 is starting off as another year of drought it appears. We are currently in the D1 moderate drought category. But go west and it gradually deepens to extreme and even exceptional drought, and it is gradually moving this way.
We’ve really been in a long-term drought since 2010 in Oklahoma. Yes, we’ve had some periods of nice rains last year, but still ended up well below normal. So how does this affect you, and LawnAmerica, who is responsible for much of the care and quality of your turf in the landscape? It’s pretty simple…..plants need water to survive and thrive. Yes, many of our customers have irrigation systems, or can put a hose and sprinkler out in the lawn. That’s great, and is necessary most of the time for a quality turf. But there is nothing that can take the place of good, soaking, natural rainfalls. These provide much-needed deeper soil moisture, which trees especially need for survival.
Even during the winter, it’s important to provide good soil moisture for lawns and ornamentals. I’ve had to irrigate my fescue turf several times recently, as the topsoil is very dry, and those seedlings from last fall’s plantings are still not fully mature. Fescue turf can die in the winter if it becomes too dry and cold. Even bermudagrass should be watered some, as the chances for winterkill occurring are much greater if the soil is extremely dry.
If you have recently had an early spring pre-emergent herbicide applied (hopefully from LawnAmerica), that weed-control product needs to be watered into the soil within about five days for best results. If a homeowner does not water it in, and just waits for the next rainfall to occur, which could be weeks on end, some of the product will break down with sunlight. It is not activated until it’s watered into the soil, where it will then be able to do its’ job.
It’s going to take a lot of rain this spring and summer to really bust out of this drought, so in the meantime, please water your lawn, shrubs, and trees even now in the winter.