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Randy's a Texas Aggie who truly KNOWS plants and flowers. He explains them with ease and candor, and is as competent a "plant person" as there is. He studies, and he practices. He embraces "new methods" as well as the "old" ways of dealing with problems. Call for Randy's solution for your question ... 713-212-KTRH (5874).
As promised to GardenLine listeners last weekend, this week's post is about dealing with all the downpours of recent days.
It's a topic I've covered several times in the last decade, but it's always worth discussing again, especially since the deluge came just after I had encouraged those who had not yet done the summer lawn fertilization to get busy. BOOM — a solid week of unrelenting rain.
So, the first question might be, "If I still haven't done the fertilization, can I do it on such wet soil?" Absolutely! Remember the GardenLine Maxim: "It's Never Too Late To Do The Right Thing." Don't panic. I'm sure there will be plenty of opportunity to get the summer fertilization down before August.
But what if you, adhering to my schedule, already applied your fertilizer ... say, in June? You almost certainly need to re-apply sometime in the next 30 days. But the second application should be at a reduced rate — cut your broadcast dosage in half.
Now, if you were running behind and fertilized July 4-8 as I urged, do you have to re-apply? Absolutely! If we had only seen 3-5 inches over a day or two, I'd be recommending that you re-apply at half dosage. But because we received upwards of 8 inches in three days, you might as well do it again at full strength.
We now also need be wary of fungal diseases. In turf that has been exceedingly wet or soggy, we may need to accelerate the fungicide application. Normally, I call for proactive applications in August, but excessive moisture is accelerating diseases in some areas. Make your decision based on what you see ... if it ain't broke, don't fix it. But, if you note any hint of fungal disease — like brownpatch in areas historically prone to it — hit it with a fungicide now. Check my brownpatch tip sheet for a list of effective products.
Lastly, some folks have had flood waters sit on their lawns for more than 48 hours. In those cases, a poor man's bio-remediation is in order. This requires multiple applications of products like Medina Soil Activator or Soil Mender's Foliar. These will help break down all the salts, chemicals and other bad things that washed in and settled on your lawn. You can use soil activators weekly or every two weeks, but be sure to put down 6-8 applications.
Unfortunately, soil activators can't help combat new weed seeds brought in by flood waters. So, prior to a soil activator application, you should immediately put down a pre-emergent herbicide. (Yes, you need to re-apply even if you did it back in May per my schedule.)
On a positive note, there may never be a better time to auger holes as suggested in my Deep Root Feeding and Watering tip sheet. You may not want to do it today, because the mud may be a little too thick or wet. But in under a week, the ground will still be moist enough for you to auger holes in many different ways, and with an ease not seen around here in years.
If you have any other rain-related questions, please don't hesitate to call the GardenLine radio show this weekend. We will be there bright and early Saturday and Sunday beginning at 6 a.m.