GreenGrass Blog

Tulsa Lawn Care Update: Rain, a Precious Commodity!

Posted by Kathy Wilder on Thu, Feb 21, 2013 @ 11:46 AM

Today is a great day in Tulsa!  For the past two days, we’ve had “wintry weather.”  In Oklahoma that means a mixture of rain, sleet, hail, thunder and lightning, snow, ice, and more rain.  It’s been a big, sloppy mess, punctuated by car accidents, and white-knuckled driving for those of us who managed not to crash into anything.

 

Ditches are full, back yards are flooded, and we still have some piles of snow.  When you let the dogs out, they come back in as mud balls.

 

And here at GreenGrass, we can’t get our lawn care work done. 

Crocus in the snow

 

Isn’t it great?  We need this rain so BADLY that none of the above matters.  (Except for the car wrecks!  I'm very sorry for anyone that happened to!) Spring has actually sprung!  I know the temperature doesn’t feel like it, but in the lawn care industry, we are full tilt into spring.  It’s time for crabgrass pre-emergents and broadleaf post-emergents, weeds are popping up, and so are crocus and tulips.  Our first weed control application can be done through the first week of March, so it’s not too late, and the delay in production due to rain is just fine!

 

Because, you see, the lawns and landscapes in Tulsa need the rain worse than anything else.

 

We all know we’ve been in the midst of a terrible drought for two years, now.  But I’m not sure people realize the toll this has taken on our landscapes or on the Oklahoma landscape in general.  It’s not just a matter of having to water our lawns a lot.  On the news yesterday, I saw people taking down huge native trees that have just perished.  For our ecosystem, this has been a disaster.  Trees and wooded land harbor wildlife.  Pastures feed our cattle.  Agricultural land feeds us.  The drought has been devastating to our wildlife, our agriculture and livestock, and economy.

 

As far as our business here at GreenGrass, we can make up our rain days.  We wish it would rain every other night!  Nothing is better for our lawns and trees and shrubs than rain right now, going into spring green-up.  And don't be surprised if you see new broadleaf weeds popping up after the sun comes out.  But our weed control application will take care of that!

 

Lawns need at least an inch of water per week during the growing season, and at least a half inch of water per week in the winter when they’re dormant.  Moisture is insulation.  Snow is insulation.  In fact, when we expect a hard freeze, watering beforehand will protect your lawn and your plants.

 

So.  We can put up with a big, sloppy mess for a while, if that’s what it takes.  Water is life!

 

Note:  In addition to Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Owasso, Coweta, Bixby and Jenks, we now service Claremore, Catoosa, Glenpool, and some parts of Sapulpa.  It's time to think about your spring pre-emergents, and we'd love to do a free estimate for you!

Topics: drought stress, Watering and lawn care

Lawn Care Tips for Tulsa Area and Broken Arrow Water Rationing 2012

Posted by Kathy Wilder on Tue, Jul 31, 2012 @ 02:18 PM

small dawn redwood under drought stress

I guess we all knew it was coming, but that doesn't make water rationing any easier.  Watering every other day isn't really a problem, but the midnight to noon thing is difficult if you don't have automatic sprinklers (and if you do have them, I hate you.) (Okay, not really, I'm just jealous!)

 

For those of us who work days, we're going to have to be a little creative.  And I don't know about you, but I have trees dropping leaves already, and I don't want to lose them, especially since I lost a large Dawn Redwood to drought last year.

 

Of course, on a positive note, technically, early morning is the best time to water.  And think of the money we'll save on our water bills!

 

Even though this is voluntary, I urge everyone to comply so we don't end up having to do our laundry between midnight and noon!

 

Here are a few suggestions:  (and if anyone else has anything to add, please do!)

 

Buy a soaker hose.  My husband bought one at Atwoods really cheap!  Can't remember how much is was, but I'd say $10 to $15.  It's pretty long, too. Put it where you want it, turn it on low in the morning, and come home at lunch to turn it off.  If you can't come home at lunch, turn it on at midnight and turn it off before you go to work in the morning. 

 

Buy a deep-root waterer.  If you have trees dropping leaves, especially smaller trees, you need one of these!  I ordered one from Lowe's website for $19.95.  Nothing fancy, but it works great and has a lifetime guarantee.  You just hook up the hose to it, and stick it in the ground.  Leave it in place 'til you see the water bubble up, then move it.  I used the soaker hose a little while to soften the ground first, then stuck the deep-root waterer in the ground, moving it at about two-foot intervals around the drip-line of the tree, leaving it in each place for about 15 minutes.  Warning:  the first time I pulled it out of the ground, a geyser of mud erupted all over me.  Yank it out quickly and watch where you point that thing - it's like a pressure washer!

 

The trees under the most drought stress are those with small leaves, like river birch, dawn redwood, willow, and cypress trees.  The picture at the top is a young dawn redwood in part of our back yard where we never water, and the grass was brown.  After using the soaker hose around the tree a little Saturday, and the deep root waterer Sunday, the grass around it magically turned green!  (Good reason not to skip your fertilizer, even if your lawn is brown.)

 

Both the soaker hose and the deep-root waterer conserve water, because they're close to the ground, eliminating a lot of the evaporation that goes on when your sprinkler is spewing water into the air.

 

Focus on watering the plants you want to come back next year, because that's where your investment is.  Your annuals are something you buy every year anyway, but it's very expensive to replace a tree or ornamental shrub.  If it's a large tree, it's very expensive to remove it, too, and then you have to spend more money on a new one!

 

If you don't have a soaker hose or a deep root waterer, set sprinklers where you want them the night before, and turn them on as soon as you get up.  Turn them off when you get in your car to go to work.

 

NOTE:  If you have dogs or other pets outside, try to bring them in half a day - maybe go home at lunch and put them inside for the hottest part of the day.  If you simply can't, be sure they have plenty of shade and fresh water, and check on them as soon as you get home.  You can buy a baby wading pool at the Dollar Store or Walmart, and that will really help cool them off. 

 

Our little garden friends like birds, bunnies and toads are suffering, too.  A birdbath is heaven for them!  I set out some pie pans with water for the toads and bunnies, and they use them!

 

If you have wading pools, pie pans and bird baths, be sure to change the water frequently (every other day) so you don't have a mosquito haven!  If you don't have time to change it, just spray some water in it or stir up the top to drown any mosquito larva.

 

Even this usually hardy maple tree is showing signs of drought stress!

maple under drought stress

Topics: drought stress, watering rationing tips