A far as Tulsa lawn care goes, we’ve had a surprisingly warm and dry October so far. The weather has been simply lovely.
On the other hand, the warm temperatures, high winds, and lack of rainfall are posing a threat to our landscapes. Many trees dropped leaves early, and many are suffering drought stress.
The drought stress in trees shows up later than it would in your lawn, because trees are very slow growing. Sometimes, the damage may not show up until next spring, when the trees means of photosynthesis and water uptake just won’t work.
What’s in store for winter? Who knows? NOAA is predicting a warmer, wetter winter for us, but with one of the strongest El Nino’s on record in play right now, and a few other factors, it’s hard to tell. Check out NOAA’s winter predictions here.
WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW TO HELP
YOUR LAWN AND LANDSCAPE LOOK THEIR BEST:
Water – Your lawn needs one to one and a half inches of water per week. Obviously, it’s not getting that unless you’re watering. Never mind how much rain we had in the spring – that’s long gone! It’s never a good thing for your bermuda grass to go into winter dormancy in a dry state. Water is insulation against the cold temperatures. Areas where your grass is thin are most susceptible to winter damage.
If you have fescue, this is the beginning of its growing season. Hopefully, you have already overseeded your fescue areas or seeded bare areas in the shade. You must keep the seedlings moist or they will die. If your seed hasn’t germinated yet, you must keep it moist or it will not germinate. Read all about fescue here.
Water your trees (especially young trees) and shrubs with a deep watering twice per week.
Keep the leaves up off your fescue – if you have recently seeded or overseeded fescue, this can be tricky. DO NOT rake, or you will pull out your seedlings and rake up all your new grass. Blowing leaves off into a bermuda grass area and then raking will work. Or, use a leaf vacuum – just be careful not to rest it on the ground where you could suck up un-germinated seeds or new seedlings.
Even though we plant fescue in the shade, it must have sunlight now to build up its reserves of carbohydrates through the long, hot summer. As the leaves come off the trees, it will get more and more sunlight (if you keep the leaves off of it) and get stronger and healthier so it can withstand the heat next summer.
What’s with the bug bites?
If you have oak trees anywhere nearby, you may be getting bitten by oak leaf itch mites. For some reason their population has exploded this year, and they are coming off the trees by the thousands. Oak leaf itch mite bites may feel like mosquito bites, but they very quickly start to itch badly and resemble chigger bites. Awful! I have 3 huge oaks trees in my front yard, and it hasn’t been fun!
Unfortunately, with the windy days, your neighbor’s oak trees may send the mites your way. They are so tiny they’re invisible to the naked eye. Bug repellant doesn’t seem to work, so cover up if you’re working in the yard. Long pants and long sleeved turtlenecks may seem odd for this time of year, but you’ll be glad you covered up! The bites are miserable! Read more about oak leaf itch mites (which can drop 370,000 adult mites from one tree in one day) in this Tulsa World article.
Enjoy the weather while you can, but don’t forget to water if we don’t get that promised rain this weekend!
As always, we appreciate your business!