This season's weather challenges & responses
The crazy weather continues—and we feel redundant saying that—but it effects our work’s results on a daily basis. There is no perfect answer to the problems that have popped up this season, but we always look to provide an environmentally-friendly and practical answer to achieve the look you desire on your property.
Patience is the key with our weather's ways of presenting landscape challenges and the potential eye sores that M.J. works hard to avoid. As I have written before there is no normal anymore. In the 30 years I have worked in this industry, major changes are happening. The insect and disease issues seem to be at an all-time high. New weeds and plants (many desirable) are no longer seen here in Central Ohio. Global warming… climate change… whatever you call it, is occurring with a noticeable impact.
Lawn disease: This seems to be the number one challenge this year. High humidity and heavy soaking rains are making for perfect conditions for lawn disease (and grass death). Stress signs, and even death can happen in as little as 7-10 days. Which is why we apply fungicides (lasting 7-14 days) to help slow the disease some, but then a heavy rain comes and either washes off the “medicine” or re-creates the conditions and the disease pops up again. I don’t think Mother Nature ever intended a perfect lawn/monoculture! We can constantly apply fungicides but it is horrible for the environment and an expensive endeavor.
Weeds: Yes, they do grow to 3 to 5 to 7 inches in one week! If you miss one weed, the next week it could be a foot tall. Crabgrass has loved the weather this year also.
Insects: Bagworm and caterpillar populations have been the highest I have ever seen. You can blame milder winters, less plant death, and a perfect environment this year with the heat and moisture. Many insects are developing additional life cycles this year due to the early high temperatures in May, which means MORE bugs.
Pruning: Trees and shrubs are growing like crazy. Our pruning labor is up significantly to keep up with all the new growth. Some boxwood are being pruned for a third time this year! …While some of our peers in the industry are turning to chemicals and growth regulators to eliminate the extra work. (Not our practice.)
Mowing: It has not slowed down. Even though I have barely used our irrigation at our office and my home, we have had to constantly mow the properties twice a week. The high temperatures have not even slowed growth, due to all the rain and humidity.
All this goes to say that patience is still key! New and different problems pop up, and we will continue try to provide environmentally-friendly practices and stay practical with your property. We work hard to provide a consistent response so challenges do not grow into huge (and expensive) eye sores.
Call with any issues, we are here to help.
And remember, OSU football is close! …And cooler temps!!
Joel R. John, ASLA