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Weather in a Word – Wow!

By Paul James

August is ordinarily so hot and dry that I discourage people from planting certain things, in particular large trees and shrubs as well as conifers. But given the current weather pattern we’re in – and the long-range forecast for the rest of the month — I wouldn’t hesitate to plant anything and everything, including large trees and shrubs and yes, even conifers.

After all, we’re seeing well-below average daytime temperatures, cool overnight temperatures, and well-above average rainfall. (The storm that blew through early last Sunday morning dumped twice the average monthly amount of rain in Bixby in only two hours!)In other words, it’s been more like early June or late September than the middle of August.

But it’s not just the daytime temps and rainfall that convince me it’s okay to plant. Most importantly, it’s the overnight temps. We can all recall years past when evenings in August were insufferable, like when the temperature at 10pm was in the mid-90s and the thought of sitting on the patio was the furthest thing from our minds, right? Well I don’t recall an evening this August when Carrie and I weren’t on the patio at night (maybe not at 10pm, however; at our age, we tend to retire closer to 9).

And given a choice, plants much prefer the cooler nighttime temperatures. It enables them to “rest,” and in the process carry out vital physiological processes that only take place at night.

Of course, I’m not saying we won’t see an occasional day in the upper 90s. After all, it is August. But so long as the nights are cool – which means soil temps will be cooler than normal as well and roots will produce new growth – I plan on planting whatever I want. And yes, my list includes conifers.

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6 responses to “Weather in a Word – Wow!”

  1. Kandi says:

    Do you it would be safe to plant ground cover now? If so, what would you recommend for a large area (1/4 acre) all dirt right now, completely shaded and part of it is on a severe slope. I need to conserve my soil but don’t want to plant fescue due to the over seeding required. Any ideas would be much appreciated.

    • Paul James says:

      Kandi — It would be perfectly safe to plant any ground cover now. For shade, consider ferns, Ajuga, Pachysandra, English ivy, Mondo grass, Liriope, Wintercreeper, and Vinca.

  2. Sherrill says:

    A neighbor said he’d trim my huge bradford pear since one side had fallen. He left nothing but the stump. I am heartbroken. It was the only shade in my front yard. The birds used that tree, frogs lived on it, ny dogs loved the shade. . Is there a fast-growing shade tree I could plant this month that is strong? Thanks! I love your humor.

    • Paul James says:

      Lacebark elm grows pretty quickly, and it’s a great tree. I’d also recommend Chinese Pistache and Shumard oak. Their growth rate when young is fairly fast, but they do slow down with age.

  3. Tami says:

    I did not have a very good summer vegetable garden and was thinking of trying a fall garden. Does anyone in the Tulsa area have onion sets and things for fall gardening?

    • Paul James says:

      We should be getting onion sets within a couple of weeks, as well as transplants of broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower. We also have seeds for everything you’ll want to grow in fall, including lettuce, spinach, and greens of all kinds, beets, carrots, sugar snap peas, radishes…the list goes on and on. Come see us.