What now, after all the rain?


I was thumbing through some previous articles I’ve written after major rain events and realized it might be good to clarify some things, because I believe I will get lots of questions on the topic this weekend on the radio show.

First, what follows is specifically about turfgrass. If you have questions about rain’s effects on plants, soil, or beds, please call the radio show this Saturday and Sunday morning.

I will, however, offer this one nugget: If any of your crape myrtles’ limbs are hanging down, almost touching the ground, you might as well prune them - they may never be easier to reach. And they will pop back up and look perky again once the rain stops.

Now to be perfectly honest, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to any of this. And I might even change my mind before Saturday on some of this stuff. For example, the east side of Houston saw up to nine inches of rain in just half of Monday. Other areas got less than three inches over four full days.So, answers are really on a case-by-case basis.

But you can use these general guidelines remembering that no solution will apply in every circumstance. Please call me on the air this weekend if you need additional help.

If you’ve had five or more inches since Sunday, re-apply anything you did earlier in May. Fertilization? – Yes! Organic Schedule? – Yes! Pre-emergent herbicide? – Yes! Trace minerals/elements? – Yes! Compost top-dressing? – Yes! Molasses? – Yes!

If you had LESS than four inches in the week, you need to make adjustments. Has it been less than 30 days since you applied something? If the answer is YES, then re-apply at half the rate you put out originally.

If you’ve done NOTHING since February, March or April, simply jump on the schedule starting in June. Just move it up a couple of weeks. The schedule suggests mid-June through July for summer applications, but after all the rain we need to get everything down now. Fertilizer, pre-emergent, trace minerals … everything.

If you have NO CLUE … If you really don’t recall what you’ve done or remember when you did it, just jump on the schedule. With all the rain everyone has endured, there’s an overwhelming need to get everything into the soil for the grass roots.

And there’s a quick fix for a lawn that seems to have lost its dark-green look. When you got lots of rain, the iron, the nitrogen, the sulfur and other stuff that keeps grass green leach out. So, I’ll give a synthetic solution and an organic solution … just choose one or the other.

Synthetic – Any quick-acting 15-5-10, like Nitro-Phos Imperial. Or any high-nitrogen fertilizer like a 21-0-0 or 20-2-10. Or any iron and soil acidifier combo. But NO weed-and-feeds!

Organic – Sweet Green from Nitro-Phos, because it’s good for a 40% instant green-up, and it’s the granular organic with the highest level of nitrogen on the market. Or Medina Hasta Gro for Lawns, because it’s a 12-4-8 and the liquid organic with the highest nitrogen level.

If the cost of reapplication is a concern, whether you are following the organic or synthetic schedule you can probably hang in there until the next application in mid-June. Remember, there is still some fertilizer in there on most lawns. If you applied fertilizer a week or two before the deluge, you might be in the clear. Most of that fertilizer has already dissolved and should be working well enough that you can hold on until the next scheduled application. The exception might be for those places that received more than 10 inches in one week.

If you don't really care about added costs and are more concerned with maintaining lush green turf, re-apply anything and everything. And if for whatever reason you never got around to the April-May spring fertilization, this is a perfect time to follow my suggestion that "it's never too late to do the right thing."

PHOTO: Getty Images


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