It’s the first day of August, in Tulsa Oklahoma, and it feels more like October. And that’s fine by me, after the many scorching hot summers we’ve experienced here lately. And my rain gauge measured 3” of rainfall over the past few days. Heck, we couldn’t buy even an inch of rain in 2011 and 2012! These types of good, soaking rains are great for the turf and trees in Tulsa, as the soil moisture gets down deep.
So give your irrigation system a break, along with your water bill. Just turn it off and let things dry out for up to a week. In most cases your lawn and landscape will be fine. In fact, while the very top of the soil will dry out, turf roots will grow deep into the soil, picking up that deep soil moisture which does not dry out as quickly. This is what turf grass managers want, is good and deep root systems. So these rains we’ve experienced this July have been perfect for that.
Trees have been beat up during the past few years, so these summer soaking rains are great for them also. I’ve never seen things so lush and green during mid-summer, so I expect the insects that feed on trees, shrubs, and turf will be having a smorgasbord as summer progresses. Be on the alert for bugs then chewing on your plants, and contact our staff horticulturist if needed.
And, you heard it first here, on August 1st. We are long overdue for a serious Fall Armyworm invasion in Tulsa. Now I’m not predicting that, but I will say the conditions are right, and we are due, to have an invasion this fall. So if they come, you can say I’m a genius. If not, then we can just hide this blog in the deep recesses of LawnAmerica and I’ll deny saying that. But if I was you, I’d be on the alert and have my lawn insecticide ready. Last major invasion we had was about 13 years ago I believe, and many stores ran out of product to kill the Armyworms. We have plenty at LawnAmerica.
We've been thinking about offering our lawncare services in Edmond and Oklahoma City area for several years, and we recently have pulled the trigger on this venture. After obtaining a very large commercial property in Oklahoma City, we decided it was time to go. We for now are driving the turnpike every few weeks from Tulsa, but will have a place to call home by this winter, and begin marketing to OKC homeowners and businesses soon. So the weeds in OKC had better be warned LawnAmerica is coming your way!
Oklahoma City soils are a little more alkaline (higher pH) than Tulsa, and the climate is a little drier. Other than that, the turf, landscapes, and customers are pretty similar. It's a little flatter also, so our guys will appreciate not having to push that heavy fertilizer spreader up hills as they do in parts of Tulsa! It's bigger, with more miles to cover and more people, so that's exciting to us. We've been blessed here in Tulsa, and have done very well, serving almost 13,000 customers, making us the largest lawncare provider in Oklahoma. So with the OKC expansion, with time, we hope to be able to help even more homeowners and businesses with their lawncare needs, and make their world a little greener. And, we hope to provide more great professional opportunities for our LawnAmerica team members.
Giving back to the communities we serve is also a big part of LawnAmerica. So weíll do things in Oklahoma City and Edmond to help kids, families, and non-profits as we've done for 16 years here in Tulsa. Currently, we are serving lemonade every Wednesday at Keith's Lemonade Stand at the Little Lighthouse
at 36th & Yale. We, along with a few other Tulsa businesses such as Chick-fil-A, are helping to raise $250,000 for the new expansion at LLH. So stop by and see us, enjoy some free lemonade, and make a contribution to the Little Lighthouse so they can serve more deserving kids in Tulsa.
I hear it often from homeowners. “Why is my lawn not as green as my neighbors?” Or, “I didn’t see enough fertilizer on my lawn after your treatment.” Yes, fertilizer, particularly nitrogen fertilizer, is mainly what makes lawns in Tulsa nice and green. Since nitrogen does not stay in the soil profile for that long, it needs to be consistently added to the soil in order to produce the thick, green turf which homeowners and others desire.
However, fertilizer is not the only factor in making grass green. Genetics is huge, as certain turf varieties will be more green and thick than others. Just as in people or any other living thing, there will be differences in characteristics and appearance, and that is a good thing. Soil types play a major role in turf performance and health. Irrigation, mowing practices, and sunlight are all huge in determining how green and healthy turf is.
Dollar Spot turf disease in bermudagrass can be a sign of nitrogen deficiency or over-wateringYes, fertilizer is important, or we would not be able to stay in business! The types, amounts, and frequency of fertilizer application are all important. And I can assure you that LawnAmerica knows and uses the best types of fertilizers, applies them accurately, and at the proper times using the proper rates.
It’s easy to make a lawn really green…..just dump a bunch of Urea or 46-0-0 on the lawn. Just make sure you water it in well, or you’ll burn your lawn. Even if you do water it in, too much nitrogen will still burn it, especially during hot weather. Bermudagrass turf in Tulsa needs about one pound of actual nitrogen per 1000’ per growing month. Too little will lead to thin turf, pale green color, and other problems such as Dollar Spot turf disease. Too much nitrogen will weaken the root system, cause too much topgrowth (you’ll be mowing every 3 days), could cause other turf disease issues, and could burn the turf. And using excessive nitrogen or any other fertilizer, such as phosphorus, can be bad for the environment. So our best full programs, the 6 and 7-Step Programs, supply about 5-6 lbs of actual nitrogen per 1000’ to the turf, with four treatments of granular fertilizers, spaced about every 4.5-8 weeks, depending upon the season and program.
We use higher analysis fertilizers at LawnAmerica, such as a 32-0-7 during mid-summer. So if our goal is to apply 1.4 lbs of actual nitrogen per 1000’, we only need about 4.5 pounds of fertilizer applied to that 1000’ of turf. So when we blow the fertilizer off concrete areas, as we do, and with some of the fertilizer pellets being brown (they are organic), you will be hard pressed to see a bunch of fertilizer.
Yesterday was a first. I actually made a wood fire in the fireplace on the back porch, and its mid-July in Oklahoma! I almost thought I was at our old cabin in the Colorado mountains sitting by the fire. Compared to many of the recent summers we’ve experienced in Oklahoma, with brutal heat and little rainfall, the summer of 2014 is turning out to be quite a godsend. So while the rain does mess up our production schedule somewhat, we’ll take the benefits that it provides.
So how does this cool, rainy weather affect lawns and landscapes in Tulsa and NE Oklahoma? Well for one, you can and should turn off your irrigation system for a while, and give it a break. That’s a good thing for your water bill, with the 2” of rainfall last week, and now a day or so of good soaking rains. These are the types of rains which really soak into the deeper layers of soil, causing the turf roots to grow deep. And that’s a good thing, so when the very top soil layer dries out later, there will still be good soil moisture deep being utilized by those deep roots.
Some people water too much, not only wasting precious water resources, but also hurting the turf. Excess soil moisture cuts off the oxygen supply in the soil, which is bad for the turf. Too much rain or irrigation leaches out soil nitrogen faster, leading to a negative impact on green turf color later on. Summer weeds such as crabgrass and nutgrass love saturated soils, so they can proliferate in wet soils. And, turf diseases such as Brown Patch can be more severe in wet periods and with over-watering.
So turn off the sprinklers and let Mother Nature do her thing! Get outdoors and enjoy the green turf, trees, and landscapes in Tulsa and NE Oklahoma this July, instead of sitting in the air conditioning trying to stay cool as we normally do during July. With the rains, bermudagrass will be growing like crazy into July, so now is a great time to try Primo, our great turfgrass growth regulator, which slows down the growth of grass by 50% for up to 6 weeks with one treatment. Our customers who have this service done several times during the summer love it, as it saves time, money, and their turf actually is greener and thicker with the Primo treatment.
Our LawnAmerica guys also love this cool summer weather. Normally, they are dog tired by 1:00 with working in 90 and 100 degree heat. Not now…..they just keep on working into the afternoons killing weeds and fertilizing grass, like the energizer bunny. So give em’ a shot on your lawn if not already doing so! They’re good, and they service more turf than anyone in Oklahoma.