Monday, February 22, 2016

Wet Landscape?

Since October, we have had a steady dose of rain. Hopefully, your irrigation system is turned off for now. With this wet weather there are several things to consider doing to get your lawn and shrubs off to a good start this spring. Although I do not see them every day, there are yards I pass that have had standing water in them every time I do pass by them for several months, and others that are just plain saturated.

This next statement feels weird to write because it is the opposite of what I’m usually encouraging people to do; however, if you have one of these saturated yards, pull back the mulch and hold back from mulching right now. Let the sun and wind get to the soil and dry it out some, so the plant’s roots (feet) can dry out. If you have read the Horticulture Hotline for long, you know I love mulch, especially Back To Nature’s Cotton Burr Compost; however, these conditions are a little different from the normal.

Since oak trees are still dropping leaves, it is a good idea to hold off on new mulch because you do not want old oak leaves in your beautiful new mulch. Rake back the mulch on shrubs and trees and let the sunshine in. This may be a good year to remove all mulch as a sanitation practice against overwintering disease and insects. Using Mule Mix in these areas will help dry them out and relieve compaction.

Once the rain slows down, aerate around your trees and shrubs (if possible) to help relieve compaction and to help dry them out. Add Mule Mix to these open aeration holes or on the surface also. Wet soils get compacted very easily. We are seeing a lot of root rot fungi and leaf spot fungi already. Fungus loves wet conditions, so dry the yard out. SeaHume is the main organic to use right now because of its ability to flocculate the soil particles and promote aeration and drainage. SeaHume will encourage beneficial fungi that will compete with bad fungi as well.

Son (or grandson) gets a new Jeep electric car for Christmas and drives it on the yard all winter, while the grass is wet and dormant. Daughter (granddaughter) gets a new puppy. The puppy and the older family dog are playing doggy games all over the yard, tearing it up. The teenager gets a car and since there is no more parking places in the driveway, he parks next to the drive in the grass (now mud). Being a NASCAR fan he skids into the place and spins his tires on the way out – like pit row. You had great weather for the fire pit, oyster roast, and pig picking party; however, your yard was still wet and it looks like a herd of buffalo went through it.

Wet turf compacts way more than dry turf. This would be a great time to get on a lawn care company’s schedule for aerating, once the grass comes out of dormancy. With our weather being wet and mild into December, I saw fungus worse than I can ever remember. Fungus loves moist conditions, so consider using Mule Mix to dry it out.
SeaHume will encourage beneficial fungi that will compete with bad fungi and promote aeration and drainage. Consider getting on a preventive fungicide program and know that some grass is dead from these wet conditions.

I’m only saying this if your yard is supersaturated (I can’t believe I’m saying this). Hold off on the Cotton Burr Compost for now (that hurts to say), rake up leaves and mulch to aid in areas drying up, use Mule Mix to dry areas, use SeaHume to encourage the good fungi and drainage, aerate, get on a fungicide program early.

Weeds are going to move into these weakened thin areas. Have you applied your spring preemerge?