We’re Wrapping up Hurricane Season…With One More to Go?

 

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Though North Carolina Preparedness Month was in September, it’s never too late (or too early) to think about safety in the face of a natural disaster. Despite our cooling temperatures, we still have over a month left of hurricane season which doesn’t end until November 30th. North Carolina does have a history of being impacted by hurricanes in October, so it’s best to keep disaster kits and emergency plans at the ready. Visit Ready Forsyth for more tips on disaster preparedness.

Regardless of the fact that the season is not yet over, we’ve seen an immensely active season so far this year. The frequency and intensity of storms has been propelled by warm ocean temperatures and a lack of wind shear that can be destructive to a developing hurricane. This September was also the 4th warmest September on record and ocean temperatures also placed 4th warmest on record, contributing to our unusual season. Hurricane Ophelia was a record-setting storm that pushed farther northeast (to Ireland and the UK) than any other hurricane. The pattern was so odd that the National Hurricane Center never thought an Atlantic hurricane would track so far.

Hurricane Irma ranks as the most deadly and destructive hurricane so far this season, with Harvey and Maria not far behind. For Winston-Salem, these storms did contribute to higher than average rainfall, but this was welcome after our drier than average July.  We’ve seen 15 named storms and 5 major hurricanes so far this season, pushing the upward range of predictions for this year as well as being higher than average for an active season. However, it is still predicted that we will see at least one more named, damaging storm.

In regards to temperatures, so far 2017 is stacking up to be the second warmest year on record, but check back to see if that becomes official!

Sources:

Caribbean360

Weather Underground – Ophelia

Weather Underground – 4th Warmest

USA Today

Miami Herald

See our Pinterest page for photo credit.

 

 

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Summer Turf Pests and Diseases

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Be on the Watch For Summer Pests and Diseases

Earlier this week we sent out an e-mail regarding some of the bigger turf threats for the summer. We wanted to replicate that information below as we feel it plays a crucial role in keeping lawns healthy through the toughest part of the summer. If you would like to subscribe to our monthly newsletter, click here.

Nutsedge can be one of the most troublesome weeds found in lawns and other plant beds. Unlike most weeds, it is not controlled with application of traditional grass or broadleaf herbicides and an outbreak of nutsedge can appear at any time and any place, including landscaped areas with woody ornamentals and perennials.

The active ingredient in the herbicide used to control nutsedge is absorbed into the leaf tissue within 24 to 48 hours and is translocated through the vascular system, interrupting amino acid production within the plant. It is recommended that the plant not be pulled out of the ground as the “nutlets,” or underground rhizomes, will be disturbed and can germinate into new plants.

A surfacant is required for maximum absorption and should be sprayed before outside temperatures reach 90 degrees, and is rainfast in four hours.

In cases of heavy infestation, it is recommended that a pre-emergent herbicide be applied. Spot treatment is preferred as opposed to blanket coverage.

Brown Patch is a fungal problem for our cool season grasses such as fescue and perennial rye, and it is the most damaging of all turf grass diseases.

It begins with late and lush spring growth and the arrival of heat and humidity, and is most active when temperatures reach 80-85 degrees and night air stays above 70 degrees.

Not only is this fungal disease airborne, it can also be spread by mowers, foot traffic, and animals. Late day rains and irrigation not having ample time to dry out only add to the spread of this disease.

If possible, increase light and air penetration or movement by pruning over-hanging tree limbs and shrubs. Mowing frequently may also help limit the spread of this disease.

Due to the high cost of herbicides used to treat these two common problems, most traditional lawn care programs do not include the treatment. Only after discovery and identification should treatment begin and continue until under control.

Also, if you see June bugs and Japanese beetles, watch out for grubs! These beetles lay their eggs in turf areas and the larval stage of the lifecycle causes severe damage to turf as they eat the roots of the grass. This insect should be treated as soon as possible after discovery.

If you have any questions about these turf issues or if you are seeing symptoms and would like to begin a treatment program, please give us a call at 336-765-6340.

Photo Credit: From our Pinterest board “Backyard Inspiration

May Brings More Records

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We know it’s been hot! What we may not realize is just how hot it’s actually been this season. According to a post from weatherunderground.com, May brought sweeps of high temperatures to many parts of the Middle East in Europe, in some cases breaking heat records and even tying with the highest reliably recorded temperature on the planet. This May was the third warmest May on record, overall. It has also been reported that the first six months of this year are the second warmest first half of the year since record keeping began in 1880. These six months have been .16 degrees warmer than the 20th century average. 2016 still holds the record of having the hottest six months by less than a degree and this year is on track to be the second-warmest year on record, behind 2016.

As far as major weather events, 2017 is falling within range of what is normal for this point in the year. For the remainder of 2017, it is predicted that we will have a more active hurricane season than average, with 3 major storms predicted. June is living up to this prediction, with Arlene already making landfall and storms Bret and Cindy are expected to be named this week.

What about Winston-Salem? Fortunately, current storm activity is in the Gulf and the Caribbean,so we don’t have much to be concerned with going in to the weekend. However, higher risks during hurricane season means there’s always the possibility we’ll see some damage. So far, we are above average for rainfall in June and have already surpassed average rainfall for the entire month. Temperatures have been above average, but that will likely taper off in the next ten days. As for May, rainfall was nearly triple the average for the month. Temperatures were consistently above average, but not nearly as record-setting as what was seen in Europe and the Middle East. The remainder of the season is still up in the air (no pun intended), but we’ll keep an eye out for future climate milestones!

Sources:

https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/historic-heat-wave-sweeps-asia-middle-east-and-europe

https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/may-2017-top-three-warm-may-globally

Photo Credit: From our Pinterest board “Sunflowers”

Do April Showers Bring May Flowers?

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We’ve all heard the expression “April showers bring May flowers,” but most probably aren’t familiar with the origin of the phrase and also question how valid the statement is. After all, we already have plenty of flowers in April between dogwoods, cherries, azaleas and the like.

It turns out that this popular idiom can be traced back to the 1300’s when a version of the phrase was published in Middle English. After that, various sources are found in England and Ireland where “April showers bring May showers” is pretty truthful. In these climates April does often bring periods of heavier rain and the phrase was probably used to give residents something to hope for during the cloudy, wet weather. However, this may not be the case in Winston-Salem where we have a higher amount of average rainfall in May. In April we typically receive 3.7″ and May we receive 3.86″ disproving the phrase we use so commonly. This month we have already received 2.09″ of rain.

It is also interesting to note that most flowering plants are more affected by warm temperatures when it comes to blooming time than rainfall. This spring is a prime example, as we saw plenty of trees flowering prematurely and daffodils sprang to the surface earlier than ever. Research shows that first flowering dates correlate with warm temperatures and the sooner temperatures rise, the earlier plants bloom. As was the case this year, having warm temperatures early can be detrimental to flowering plants, especially for crops such as apples, peaches, and cherries. If plants begin flowering prior to our last hard frost it will result in cold damage to foliage, flowers, and developing fruits. While it’s fairly reliable to say that if our average spring temperatures continue to warm we should see earlier and earlier flowering, it is unclear what the long-term results will be or if certain plants that require a chilling period will stop flowering altogether.

Sources:

http://www.usclimatedata.com/climate/winston-salem/north-carolina/united-states/usnc1469

https://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/do-april-showers-bring-may-flowers/

http://feelingsandflowers.com/136/april-showers-bring-may-flowers-%E2%80%93-discussing-the-rhyme/