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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Turf Talk – A Turf Newsletter

Turf Talk …. From Bill & Brandon                                                               fall edition – 2017

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Hi’s response to Lois makes us think that they live in the Piedmont.

We are all too familiar with this frustration. Every year in early to mid-spring, our excitement rises as we see our lawns turn lush, thick, and deep green.  Then the reality sets in by late July or August as it begins to look sparse, patchy, and filled with brown spots. While this can happen to any of our yards, it’s especially true with those without irrigation systems or with freshly sown yards.

As a landscape company, we wanted to examine this issue a little more closely. And what we found proves that the cartoon is correct! In March of 2017, LLA created three test plots at our office.

  • In the 1st one we installed a fescue sod with a well-established root system
  • The 2nd area was sowed with a blend of three fescue types.
  • In the 3rd area we planted Zoysia sod.

We watered the 3 plots regularly and all beds received the same treatments during the year. From mid-spring through mid-July, all 3 beds looks great – lush, healthy and deep green. But then the lingering effects of summer’s heat and humidity started to take its toll. And by now, late August, the proof is in the pictures.

When the heat of July and August hit us, the sod was able to establish a root system strong enough to get through the stress of high heat and humidity. Unfortunately, the plot sowed with fescue seeds was suffering by late summer. It simply had not been able to establish a deep rooting system to help sustain it. We’ll comment on the Zoysia below.

As you know, “Turf Grass” is a 4-year degree at most state universities. It may not be rocket science, but it is tricky.  We have learned a lot about it ourselves in our long careers dealing with turf grass and Mother Nature. Some key thoughts:

  1. In the Piedmont region of NC, we primarily use blended fescue – a cool season That means it does well in the cool seasons of fall, winter, and spring but it loses its vitality in the heat and humidity of summer.
  2. When fescue grass seeds are sowed in the fall, it has 3 seasons to (fall, winter, and spring) to become established – greatly improving its chances for survival. When it’s sowed in the spring, it’s much more difficult to get the root system established before going through the rigors of summer; some of it will survive certainly, but not all – even with an irrigation system. Installing sod definitely helps, but its costs are not for everyone.
  3. You cannot grow grass under trees that have top feeding root systems. These suck up too much of the available water – which is even less available in the summer. Examples are Maples, River Birch, Dogwoods, Beech trees
  4. As trees grow and expand their canopies, the root system expands – you’ll need to also expand the mowing ring.
  5. Shade is great for your home, but not for your turf. While there are decent seed blends that will handle partial shade, no grass does well in deep shade. If you see lots of moss, don’t think you’re going to get grass to grow.
  6. Air circulation is critical to the health of turf. That is why you see fans on golf courses to move air to prevent fungus from attacking turf greens.

That brings us to the 3rd test plot, planted with Zoysia sod. Zoysia, Bermuda and others are considered warm season grasses and are well adapted to hot humid weather.  However, since everything has a “catch” the big drawback of warm season grasses is that they turn brown soon after the first hard frost in the fall and remain that way until early spring.

As our long-term temperatures continue to rise and our seasons become less pronounced, we may have to alter the turf we have here in the Piedmont and use more of the “warm season grasses.”

Please call upon us to discuss the turf issues and options for your property. We want to help your grass thrive.

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2016: Climate in Review

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Since we have been posting updates about significant weather events and the climate throughout the year, we thought January would be the perfect time to recap and see how 2016 turned out, locally and globally. Though on a global scale this was a third straight year of record heat, for the U.S. 2016 was not a record topper. Still, 2016 was the second hottest year on record (which spans 122 years), was the 20th consecutive year of above average temperatures, and Alaska and nighttime temperatures were notably high. According to NOAA, last year’s average temperature was .07 degrees higher than last year, while according to NASA there was a .22 degree difference. Scientists are blaming 2016’s warming trend both on man-made global warming and on El Nino.

This year also brought the 4th consecutive wetter than normal year in the U.S., according to NOAA. This is coupled with widespread drought, meaning we are seeing more rain in shorter periods of time resulting in damaging flooding events. Last year brought forth many destructive weather events including flooding, wildfires, drought, tornadoes, hail storms, and Hurricane Matthew.

An intriguing study reports that with a projection of moderate climate change, Earth will see a loss in mild weather, on average 10 fewer days by the turn of the century. This varies by region, with some areas actually seeing an increase in mild weather. Overall, this could still result in less enjoyable weather and agricultural damage from an increase in disease and insect pests.

What’s in store for 2017? The Old Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a warmer and wetter start to the year, followed by a cooler and drier spring. The almanac also predicts that the summer will begin cool and wet, but by September we should warm up with lower precipitation than average.

Sources:

http://www.journalnow.com/
http://www.almanac.com/weather/longrange/region/us/4

Photo Credit: From our Pinterest board “Sunflowers”