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Weather-related Horticulture Tips for August

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Can you believe the amount of rainfall we've received in 2007? What a difference a year makes. There is no doubt that enough precipitation has fallen to ensure the establishment of newly sodded lawns. Many seeded lawns haven't fared so well as torrential rains have washed seed from the soil.

Many folks have not been able to mow on a timely basis. Between rains, one is sometimes forced to make a cutting a little shorter than usual. I know that this goes against my previous advice, as I have repeatedly said not to take off more than a third of the leaf blade when mowing turfgrass. Well, the good news is that, during overcast days, the turfgrass will quickly recover from a short mowing and will not look bad for long. Another solution to this dilemma is to raise the blade a click. The blade can be lowered when normal growing conditions prevail.

Dealing with ruts and soil compaction may also present management concerns. If this is the case, seek advice from knowledgeable turf or landscape advisors.

Another problem associated with heavy rainfall and moderate evening temperature is the occurrence of the fungal structures known as mushrooms. Mushrooms are actually the fruiting structures of fungus. The mushroom fungus grows on raw or composted organic substrates such as tree stumps and roots in the soil. Other substrates include waste material from farms and construction sites. Don't waste your money on a fungicide treatment to control mushrooms - just mow them down. With the return of drier weather, mushrooms will cease to be a problem.

Excess rainfall can also lead to plant disease. Take note of the plants that have disease symptoms and make plans to treat them with a fungicide at the beginning of the next growing season. Generally, fungicide treatments have a systemic action, meaning the product is absorbed into leaves, and will provide better control. These applications should be made early and as often as instructed by label directions, to ensure season-long protection.

A Pecan Note
It's weevil time. Hopefully they will all emerge at once and your trap counts will give you a 'heads up' in order to better time pesticide applications. For more information on scouting for pecan weevil and control strategies, contact the Noble Research Institute HelpLine at 580-224-6500.