WILD WEATHER

What a wild weather ride we Oklahomans have endured the last couple of weeks.  We have experienced monster tornados, high winds, hail, record setting rains in central Oklahoma and are still enduring a terrible persistent drought in the west from Altus to Woodward to Guymon.

 As long as your plants were not flooded and held under water for a sustained length of time where the plant roots and leaves were not able to get sufficient oxygen most plants have really been enjoying  this moisture from the sky and  our moderate temperatures.  Our plants have been growing rapidly, are showing vibrant green color and have been branching and flowering nicely.  We are seeing some fungus problems on lawns and flowers with all this moisture.  That is a problem we have rarely seen in Oklahoma the last couple of years in our long grinding drought.  If you have blackspot on roses, mildew on roses or crape myrtle; mold, rust or rotting on other plants you can try to run them a little drier, improve air circulation or visit you local nurseryman to select a fungicide to help you get your problem under control.  We have also experienced a lot of wind damage to our trees and shrubs.  Remove the damaged branches as soon as possible. Make a fresh clean cut where branches are dangling or hanging or torn off.  The trees and shrubs will attempt to grow new shoots and branches to start to replace those that were lost.  This damage gives you an opportunity to rebalance the tree or shrub and direct and shape the new shoots and branches where you want them.  Use sharp tools to get clean cuts and consider using tree wound dressing to protect and seal the open wounds after your tree surgery.

The moderate temperatures and moisture are extending the 2013 planting season dramatically compared to the extreme heat and drought of the last two years.  We have great conditions to still plant annuals for summer and fall color, perennials for enjoyment year after year and new trees and shrubs to be the foundation of your landscaping.  This is a good time to plant Bermuda grass seed, sprigs or sod. You can still enjoy your own veggie garden by planting tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, pumpkins and watermelons.  Central Oklahoma has been blessed with so many regular rains we’ve hardly had to water yet this season.  That will change sometime soon so remember to check your plants regularly and begin watering when needed.  New plantings will need water more often than established plantings and container gardens and hanging baskets will need water more often than ground beds.  This is the season to mulch your flower beds to reduce watering by half, to keep soil temperatures from overheating and to reduce weed pressure.  Apply 1” to 3” of cottonseed hulls, pecan hulls, pine straw, cocoa hulls, or bark mulches of cypress, aromatic cedar, pacific Grade A cedar, fir, oak and pine in your choice of particle sizes.

 We had a fairly mild winter so we are starting to see lots of insect pressure.  Visit your nurseryman with samples of your insect problems to get help finding the best organic or chemical remedy for your problem.

 Many plants are flowering, fruiting and putting on a show.  Get outside and enjoy what the flora of central Oklahoma looks like when water has been applied.

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