Am I the only one that is out of energy trying to keep up with the fluctuating temperatures this spring? It’s warm then cool then warm again and now they are calling for 47° nights this weekend!
Can’t we just get some consistency around here?!
The erratic weather patterns we have been experiencing for the past 5 months are definitely taking a toll on our landscapes. The winter we had was exceptionally mild and now, for some reason, our spring is hanging on to the lower nighttime temperatures. Just here recently, the weather has fluctuated greatly from 60-80° days and 50-70° nights. This is delaying a lot of things, most importantly the winter grassy weeds dying off and the yards coming completely out of dormancy. So, if your turf is seeming a little down and out it’s probably because of the inconsistent weather.
Don’t fret! It can take up until May for our yards to be completely out of dormancy.
Think it may be something more than your grass transitioning out of dormancy?
See our post about what normal dormancy transition looks like to make sure there isn’t a larger problem there.
Soil temperature is everything when it comes to the vitality of your turf.
Optimal soil temperature for warm season grasses to thrive is 75-95°. When the temperature dips above or below this range the grass stops growing. Our weather has not consistently been above 80° therefore we have noticed a d r a w n out transition period for the grass this year.
What do I do in the meantime?
Mow and be patient!
Mowing will help with weed control and will also expose the soil to more sunlight, thus warming its temperature. As the temperatures rise and stay at a consistent warmer degree, then your grass will reflect the springtime look we’re feeling.
Remember, don’t over-do it!
Mowing your turf too short can scalp the blades and stunt its growth. Check out our recent article that talks about proper mowing heights for different grass varieties.
Tune in next week to learn more about the organic ideology and the importance of balance in our landscapes. Patience is a virtue and it pays off being organic in the long run.
I don’t know if it's just me, but the weather the last couple of weekends has made me ditch the indoor chores for some much needed outside work. For some of you, this is the first time you’ve actually gotten a close up look at your plants and landscape since last fall.
Are you not liking what you see so far?
You may be noticing that your turf or plants are not looking as fresh or as green as the weather is telling you they should.
No need to worry just yet!
Remember that the transition from dormancy to spring green up is still in effect and could continue up until the first of May. The weather predictions for the next couple of weeks are calling for a few cold fronts so that will extend the period of time it will take for everything to completely come out of dormancy.
These pictures show the difference in yards transitioning out of dormancy with freeze damage (left) and without (right).
Don’t ignore your gut!
If you feel like you are seeing something outside of the norm, seek professional help! We have been noticing an interesting amount of freeze damage in a handful of landscapes this spring. After we put all the pieces together, we realized that the damaged areas had previously been infected and weakened by a pathogen. Most commonly, St. Augustine infected by Take All Root Rot (TARR) and Indian Hawthorns infected by Entomosporium Leaf Spot (ELS).
Freeze damage in Indian Hawthorns previously infected with ELS.
Some of you may be thinking: the winter was so mild, why would a couple of 18 degree days have that much impact on the plants?
Since we hadn’t had a hard freeze in almost 2 years, some of the weaker plants were not ready for the shock of the cold so they did not survive.
Are there any possible preventions for next winter?
While we can't control the weather, we can control what we plant! Since the problem stems inititally from the pathogen, our first recommendation is to replace your Indian Hawthorns with another shrub. Taking a trip to your local nursery would be very beneficial as they can determine the appropriate plants and shrubs for your landscape. Make sure to inform them about the shade/sun exposure you have as this is the primary factor in getting the best plants for your property. *pictures are always useful*
St Augustine is very susceptible to fungal issues so, it could be more practical for you to resod with Zoysia or Bermuda as they are much less vulnerable. However, it is imperative to consider your growing environment, particularly sun exposure, as each grass requires different amounts of direct sunlight.
First off, what is Brown Patch disease?
Brown Patch is caused by the fungus, Rhizoctonia solani. You can spot Brown Patch by the circular brown areas that appear in your turf: St. Augustine being the most susceptible.You will notice small to very large circular patches of grass turning a brownish yellow color. The patches will vary in size, but the browned leaf blades will remain upright, pulling out easily from the runner and resemble straw or hay. Recognizing the signs early on is key to reducing the disease over time.
Brown Patch in St. Augustine Lawn
Did you fall victim to this disease last year? If so, what can you expect out of your lawn this spring?
With the cool rainy spell that started in August of last year, we saw an uncanny amount of Brown Patch throughout the metroplex.
If you are one of the many who dealt with this disease, you are probably noticing that those previously infected areas are still looking pretty lifeless compared to the rest of your turf. Don’t fear! These areas will recover but expect a 2-3 week delay in green up.
Although we cannot control the weather, we can control our watering. Excessive moisture and mild temperatures are a trigger for Brown Patch. So, as it continues to stay cool at night and frequently raining - DO NOT WATER! See our watering guide for more detail on this.
Are you due for an irrigation audit?
A well-run system that is checked yearly can help prevent over and underwatering. By making sure your system is functioning properly you’ll notice: healthier plants, less water runoff and flooding, and a savings on your water bill. If you have questions about scheduling your system or its functionality, you should highly consider an irrigation audit.