Temporary Landscape Problems

Home Grown  by Keith Reed
Thanks to this year’s spring weather pattern, several significant but temporary (hopefully) plant problems are popping up. Here’s just a sampling of some of the problems people are seeing with their home landscapes right now.
  • In general, most bermudagrass lawns greened up early this year, but in some cases are just not looking very good. Bermudagrass loves sun and heat and these cool, cloudy and moist days really slow down its growth. This weather also promotes some minor leaf spot diseases so don’t be too alarmed if you see more browning off leaf surface than normal. Avoid the temptation to over-fertilize right now as warm weather should help alleviate these issues.
  • While we are still on the topic of lawns, don’t be too surprised to see some of your pesky winter weeds like annual bluegrass putting up a fight a little longer than normal. These weeds should also disappear for the summer as it gets hotter. Attempting to control them with herbicides now will only set your lawn back even further.
  • We’ve also seen some odd behavior from new ornamental plantings, with unexpected leaf drop and or disease issues. I suspect this may also be a combination of swings in the weather. As you know, we’ve had some hot windy days sprinkled in with these cool spells. New plantings don’t have much in the way of root systems and they need water when they need it. While we’ve had rain in the forecast almost daily the last few weeks, in reality, it has been surprisingly dry for most of us. Watch your new plantings carefully and water according to what the weather is actually doing, not what the forecast suggests it might do!
  • Some vegetable crops are fighting the same battles. Tomatoes are a little bit like bermudagrass right now in that they need warm soil and sunshine to thrive. If you have plants with the lower leaves browning off, it is probably a good idea to go ahead and prune those off as they are probably doing more harm than good.
  • Other warm season crops like beans, corns and melons also need warm temperatures. If you aren’t seeing something sprout as expected, it would probably be a good idea to dig one or two seeds up and make sure they are still viable.

For more information of this or any other horticultural topic, you can contact Keith Reed, the Horticulturist in the Payne County Extension office. Keith can be reached via email at keith.reed@okstate.edu, phone at 405-747-8320, or in person at the Payne County Extension office, located at 315 W. 6th in Stillwater.

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