Today we will tie a record in Tulsa for the longest stretch of days where the temperature stays above freezing, being the 257th straight day where that happens. Way back on March 6th was the last time the local temperature dropped below 32 degrees here. It’s likely we will break the record since records have been kept, as it appears we will not have a hard freeze here until Sunday.
So say what you want about global warming. I was a Jr. High science teacher in a former life and remember teaching about climate, but it wasn’t changing much or so it seemed way back then. There sure seems to be something to this, with a combination of natural weather cycles along with some effects of man and our industrialized and fossil fuel thirsty world.
All I know is that we continue to be very warm here in Oklahoma, with a very warm October and into November. It’s not normal to see green bermudagrass this late in the growing season, and it actually concerns me. Bermudagrass, being a warm-season grass, needs time to harden off and go completely dormant and brown before the really cold weather hits. If bermudagrass is still a little green and growing when that cold hits, it can damage or even kill turf.
One of the worst years of winterkill I’ve experienced was way back in 2000 I believe, when we had a similar mild to warm fall. Then when the first real blast of arctic weather blew in on December 9th or so, temperatures plunged to about 5 below zero very quickly. This was enough to send the bermudagrass over the edge and damage it, since it was not fully dormant. However, nobody knew until late April and May, when much our lawns, golf courses, and other bermudagrass turf areas remained brown, and still brown, on into late May and June.
Oh boy, that was a rough time for turfgrass managers. There were lawns almost completely brown and dead, and golf courses half dead. That did not go over well with homeowners or golfers. And who was to blame? Well, the guy caring for the lawn of course! Obviously it did not really matter much in this case who was caring for the lawn, because when Mother Nature acts up like this, things just happen to living plants. We sure got the blame though, unjustified and unfair as it was. So I’m holding my breath and hoping for some more good freezes to turn bermudagrass brown and dormant as it should be now.