What a difference a year makes! Here we are into May and our daytime highs are still in the 70’s. On rainy days we have stayed in the 60’s. The forecast for this week looks like more of the same. Temps ranging from the 60’s into the 80’s and rain chances each day except maybe Thursday. Right now it is 82(f) in my backyard (2 PM Sunday), and the sun is out with scattered clouds. A 20% chance of precip… We don’t need it.
Normally the cool season grasses and broad leaf weeds are starting to set seed and burn off by this time. Due to the fact that we have only had a couple days above 90 the cool season stuff is hanging tough. Some grasses are getting close to waist high and the cool season broad leaves are approaching 4 to 6 foot. Nila and I are both pulling weeds when we are home during daylight and have barely managed to keep our sitting areas and pathways navigable. We have been out here over 30 years and never seen it this lush.
On the bright side, the cool temps are still holding the flies and mosquitoes back. The wildflowers are thick and colorful. I am very proud that a growing number of our neighbors are mowing around good stands of free color to enjoy. Not so long ago, only the bluebonnets enjoyed this luxury. Now it is everything. If we allow these flowers to set seed they will increase so we can enjoy them (at least to some extent) every year.
On the down side, the bugs will be back with warmer temps so we will be obliged to protect ourselves as best we can. All this standing water will breed plenty so let us hope the good guys will keep the numbers down to a minimum. I did treat my road ditch with gambusia minnows (mosquito fish) and Mosquito Dunks (bacillus thuringensis israelensis or BTI for short). I’ll put out more gambusia today. Did not see tadpoles and have not seen or heard any frogs or toads so far. Still too cool??...
With warmer nights the fungi (both good and bad) will also become rampant. I fear our wheat crop may be poor due to what we call “rust” (a fungus). I thought I could see a bit the other day as I was passing a large field. Fungal diseases will self cure in Texoma with the hot dry summers we normally have but the wheat gets harvested early June. May be too late for wheat and impossible to get in the field when it is muddy. Aerial spraying is expensive and hit or miss plus the next rain washes the fungicide away. Farming is never easy. Ask any farmer. Always too much or too little.
Folks are beginning to fret over their lawn grass and warm season plants. We have seen them struggling up through the weeds and cool season grasses but the cooler days are favoring the cool season plants that are shading the ground. I almost never say this but some 90 degree days would really make a positive difference for the heat loving plants. However, my answer to all this is to remind folks that we were baking at 100 plus last year at this time so we should enjoy this respite.
Back to the bright side, in our business of farming ornamental trees, shrubs, and flowering plants, everything is lush with leaves and flush with flowers. We have only been watering transplants to settle the soil. Our water bill is minimal even though we have ¾ of an acre with thousands of plants. We have been planting as much as we can on the drier days but just like the farmers we cannot work in mud so constant rain events get us further behind. Still, the full and fast growth that only rain can bring is helping us sell plants. Many of our trees are showing near a foot of new growth since April.
This has been the year for tree planting. I have some new pluots (plum/apricot cross) bare root planted back in February that were only watered the day I planted. They are looking good. I have even thrown vegetable seeds and transplants into the garden with no watering in because rain was on the way. We (so far) have had no problems or complaints from customers this year. The rain has made that much of a difference.
Truly a blessing in this regard. There is still time to get some trees going and as long as this continues they will thrive. We are wet to the top of China and the deep moisture just may carry us through summer. No worry of drought or water restrictions in our immediate future. Instead we may have to deal with some flooding.
Those of you who planted back in the fall/winter are reaping the benefit now. It will get hot sooner or later but I’m thinking maybe not too hot this summer. Every year has its plants that are favored due to weather patterns. This year is certainly different so let us take advantage. Tree sales are up and growing. Cactus sales are lagging so far this year. Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? Come see us!