GreenGrass Blog

Oklahoma Lawn Care Alert - Beware La Nina

Posted by Kathy Wilder on Fri, Dec 16, 2011 @ 09:10 AM

I recently heard a Tulsa weather person saying that we’re under La Nina’s influence, which should mean a warmer, drier winter.  Really?


We’ve been enjoying La Nina’s effects and after effects for over a year now – blizzards, temperatures as low as -31º in Oklahoma, terrible drought, and flooding.  She was responsible for most of the weather catastrophes the first half of this year, and now she’s back!  La Nina may usually cause milder winters, but that wasn’t the case this last time around. 


snow landscape

Just what is La Nina?  La Nina (the girl, in Spanish) is a weather pattern which is the opposite of El Nino (the boy.) La Nina is a normal phenomenon that originates in the eastern Pacific Ocean around the equator and is formed by interaction between cooler-than-normal ocean temperatures and the atmosphere.  El Nino originates with warmer-than-normal ocean temperatures.  Both El Nino and La Nina are also referred to as ENSO – El Nino Southern Oscillation.   La Nina occurs every 3-5 years.  50% of the time, we have one La Nina episode directly followed by another.  That’s what’s happening now.  Both El Nino and La Nina’s affects are global.  What may be great for us is horrible for someone else, somewhere else.  And when we’re having a bad time with our weather, someone, somewhere, is saying “Hey, haven’t had a monsoon lately!”


How does La Nina affect lawn care and your landscape?  Frankly, La Nina can mean big trouble…or no trouble.  One of La Nina’s most endearing qualities is that she is much more unpredictable than El Nino.   Which translates to: she can do whatever she wants.  We could have a nice, mild winter, with some occasional rainfalls…or we could have the ice storm from hell that topples our trees and takes down power lines.  We could have moderate temperatures that set the stage for our landscapes to flourish in the spring, or we could have more -31º stuff which kills the top half of all the crape myrtles…and other plants. 


What you can do to prepare:   All you can do is your regular winter stuff, like mulching your flowerbeds and shrubs, and wrapping and mulching young trees.  Keep your landscape watered in the absence of rain (we know that’s not always possible) because it provides good insulation.


And, from my own unfortunate past experience, stock up on firewood now, be sure your generator is in good order (and that you actually have some gas for it,) and get your “when-the-lights-go-out” kit ready.  Make sure you have peanut butter and jelly and canned food that you can eat cold.  Just saying.  During one of the worst ice storms in history, my husband and I had not a stick of firewood, no gas for the generator, and not much in the way of canned food.  We did have a radio with working batteries, but it didn’t keep us warm, and we couldn’t eat it.  Needless to say, that won’t happen again!


But if we do have a blizzard, remember GreenGrass offers snow removal services – see our prices

Topics: winter lawn care, La Nina