Chalk it up to El Nino, global warming, or just a fluke, but after such a warm winter and early spring, our bemudagrass in Tulsa and Oklahoma City is really greening up fast. Look at the bermudagrass pics above, and see how much greener the turf is after just one week. This is the earliest I’ve seen it be this green over the 30 years I’ve been in the business. We usually don’t like to see bermudagrass this green this early, because a hard freeze later in spring, which is not out of the question, could really set the turf back even to the extent of experiencing winterkill. And that’s every turf manager’s worst nightmare, as there’s not much that can be done about it.
I do want to stress to homeowners not to scalp your lawn until after April 15th, the normal last frost date. Resist the temptation to go do something in the lawn, but rather rake the remaining leaves, clean up the shrub bed, trim the shrubs, go fishing, take a hike, anything but scalp your lawn! By removing that valuable insulation that the dormant turf provides, you are increasing the risk of the crown and root system being damaged from cold temperatures. While it’s 80 degrees now on March 14th in Oklahoma, it could be 28 degrees in late March or early April, which is enough to damage turf.
The early spring warmth is also causing crabgrass to germinate earlier then normal. We have it covered though at LawnAmerica, by switching to a different pre-emergent named Dimension next week, which also controls small crabgrass just germinated. The good news is that if we do go without a hard freeze in late spring, our bermudagrass lawns should be looking great and growing green and thick by mid to late April, which helps choke out undesirable weeds. We’ll be starting our lawn fertilization next week with our Round 2 for existing customers, applying our special 36-1-3 granular fertilizer with 70% slow-release nitrogen. This fertilizer is the best around, due mainly to the fact that the majority of the nitrogen is slow-release, which basically stays in the soil until it warms up into spring, and then releasing the nitrogen slowly and efficiently. This also allows us to safely apply more fertilizer with this treatment, so that we can apply Echelon weed-control with our R3 with no granular fertilizer applied then.