Can you believe we were talking about record-setting rainfall last Fall?!
Clearly record setting rainfall is not the case this September or so far this October compared to 2018 but it seems we have done a complete 180 from last year’s conditions. We are now facing moderate and severe drought conditions in much of the DC Metro region and many parts of MD still. We’ve had a couple recent showers which have helped green things back up a tad but as you may see around town, it looks more like the Sahara desert.
Some things to watch out for in this type of weather:
a) Lawn brownout…obviously. Most the lawns will enter into a safe state of dormancy to protect itself till more rains arrive or the heat diminishes. In this case, we need rain, so if you have a timed sprinkler system or have been routinely DEEP watering your lawn, than you have nothing to worry about. If you haven’t been watering when the drought arrived, your lawn has probably already browned out. If we have performed a recent seeding, please check with our office on the best time to water seed during a drought period – it can get tricky.
b) Delayed lawn fertilization services. Many of our Fall fertilization visit #1 may be postponed for reasons that we do not wish to stress the lawns with a boost of nitrogen when it may be dormant from drought-stress. It is better to wait till the lawn is actively growing again before adding more nutrients to the soil.
c) Increased presence of turf pests: While dry weather is great at cutting back on the water-bourne turfgrass diseases and fungi we noticed in 2018, it allows opens a window for some pests in the lawn. We’ve noticed a fair amount of lawn inhabiting creatures in the dry weather late in the season, please call us if you happen to see a lot of little tunnels, ant mounds, or flying insects entering and exiting the lawn in any places.
d) Compact Soil: Fall is time for aeration and overseeding. The drought conditions have hardened the soil even further. As we move towards a 100% organic lawn programs, we will be expressing the importance of more aerations, soil amendments and frequent seeding throughout the year.
e) Delayed Seed Germination: Seed requires a nice consistent soaking for the best germination which makes drought conditions once of the more challenging scenarios… The good news is that completely dry seed can stay ready to germinate once better conditions arrive AS LONG AS it hasn’t been soaking (watering or quick storm) and then is allowed to dry out. Once the seed is wet, keep it wet until germination – if it hasn’t been soaked then let it be till wetter weather arrives and supplement the watering on the days it doesn’t rain.
f) Early Leaf Drop: It’s not Fall leaf season yet…. those trees are just dropping prematurely because they are thirsty. The majority of leaves won’t drop from those same trees for some time.
Link to a Washington Post Article on recent drought in the D.C region: