Here we are half-way through spring and it has been anything but normal. After a very mild winter we experienced extremely high temperatures in February. Winter annual weeds were in their full glory, especially chic weed, some of which died on its’ own prior to any lawn applications.
Precipitation in our area has been below normal and prior to the welcome rain on April 22nd we saw signs of drought stress in turf at a time when it wants to push its’ most vigorous flush of growth. The combination of high temperatures, moving to drought conditions with a high nitrogen spring application may have negative results as we move through the season. Excessive plant growth at a time of low moisture weakens the plant and increases the susceptibility to disease and insect activity. Now that we have received some moisture we should be on the watch for leaf spot and other common ‘patch’ diseases requiring the use of a fungicide to correct.
With our reduced nitrogen, organic based program the turf came out of dormancy and pushed its’ flush of growth with a sensitivity to the drought conditions at the time. As a result, we have found the turf to be more naturally resistant to diseases and insects allowing us to eliminate the use of fungicides.
Early warm temperatures have also resulted in early flowering and leaf growth on trees and shrubs. Conversely, the cool nights have resulted in varying degrees of cold damage on the tender growth. We’re only half-way through spring and so far its’ been interesting.