What Now After All The Rains?
(The 2012 Edition)
This has come up before in these weekly email tips ... in '06 '07 and '09
Isn't the irony rich, though? Just four months ago, we were desperate for rain, and now it seems we've been getting too much. Even more peculiar, climatologists are still predicting the summer of 2012 will be much like last year's. And before we complain about too much rain, we should remember that in April 2009, parts of the KTRH listening area got as much as 15-17 inches in a single month. That was the month to go "whole hog" with the slow-release part of my fertilization schedule.
So, unless you're a dessert-loving plant, you should probably be as happy as I am about the ample moisture we've enjoyed the past few weeks.
Now, some people may be wondering if the fertilizers, amendments and pre-emergent herbicides they put down recently have all been washed away. The simple answer is "NO!" There's still some there. So whether you re-apply or not depends on two things. One, did your lawn really get over four inches of rain in one week? And two, would it make you feel better to re-apply?
If you put down your early green-up/amendment/pre-emergent a week or more before the deluge, the good news is that you probably don't have to re-apply ... those products settled in nicely. But if you applied those products 24-48 hours before the heavy rain last Saturday morning, well they didn't settle in. So it would probably be best to re-apply. But, the good news is you'll only need half the dose you previously put down. If it took two bags last time, it will take only one this time.
If you're still a bit confused, let me see if I can
Let's assume you followed my schedule correctly and applied in early February. You had well over a week or two for the fertilizer to start breaking down and working before the heavy downpours. So the rain probably had little dilution effect and didn't flush a great percentage away.
But, if applied last Thursday or Friday — right before the inundation — there was not settling, and a great deal probably was run off. So, if around half the fertilizer/amendment/herbicide is gone, we need to re-apply at half the dose we did previously.
You may find my tip sheet on spreader settings helpful. If, for example you used the "notch or two above half-way" method, you'll need to cut it to a notch or two above one-quarter. Aggie math translation: If your spreader has 20 settings, and you applied at setting 11-12 originally, you now should apply at 6-7.
If you applied early in February, and everything looks great, you really can wait and do the April 1 application. If you want to re-apply now anyway, just make double-darn sure you wait at least 60 days before your next application.
Did you notice how exceptionally green the grass appeared immediately after the hard rains? That was Mother Nature and the fertilizer working in concert to give you a quick green-up. The pH of typical rain is slightly acid. (No, not acid rain. I'm just talking about the pH rating.) Most fertilizers, especially those on my schedule, have adequate supplies of iron for greening-up purposes. That slightly acid water, compared to our predominantly neutral irrigation, allows the iron to be picked up quicker.
Those who follow my Organic Fertilization Schedule may be asking, "How does this apply to me?" Well, there are two schools of thought. One, you can follow all the instructions above for the synthetic schedule because if you applied right before all the rain, a good percentage did get flushed away. Second, organic die-hards will say their products break down at a much more controlled rate, so their product is still mostly there. If you ask me, after five to six inches of rain in two weeks, there ain't much still there. But, that's just my opinion.
If cost is a concern, then by all means hang in there until the next application with either schedule. Remember, unless your place got over 10 inches of rain in one week, there is still some fertilizer there. If you put down fertilizer a week or two before Feb. 15, you are in the clear. Most of that fertilizer is dissolved and working well enough to hold you until the next application per the schedule.
And if you have yet to do your February applications, you are living a charmed life. You couldn't ask for a better time to get the application down and watch it go to work immediately. If you're new to GardenLine, this is a perfect example of when "it's never too late to do the right thing."
This Saturday, we will broadcasting GardenLine live from the Cy-Fair Home & Garden Show at the Berry Center on Barker-Cypress Road. And I happen to have the top 10 reasons you should come:
Randy Lemmon's GardenLine is heard 6-10 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays, exclusively on NewsRadio 740 KTRH.
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