Open Mon-Fri: 9am – 6pm, Sat 8am-5pm, Sun: 10am – 5pm | 9025 South Lewis Avenue Tulsa, OK 74137.

When Rain Is A Pain


By Paul James

I love a good soaking rain as much as any gardener, but too much of a good thing can be a bad thing, especially when it comes to our gardens. Problems range from minor annoyances to serious plant health concerns, but there are steps you can take to minimize them. 
The wettest place in the United States is Mt. Waialeale on Kauai in Hawaii, which gets approximately 460 inches of rain each year, making it one of the rainiest spots on earth.

Don’t Work Wet Soil!

Working the soil when it’s wet is one of the absolute worst things you can do in the garden. Maybe THE worst. And the negative effects can last for years. It destroys the soil’s natural structure, and once the soil dries, you’re often left with huge, hard clumps. The very act of walking on wet soil can cause long-lasting damage, because it leads to compaction, one of the worst enemies of plant roots.

The best way to determine when the soil is safe to work is decidedly low tech, but effective. Just take a handful of soil in your hands, roll it into a ball, and gently squeeze it. If the ball falls apart, you’re good to go; if not, wait another day or so and test it again.
In the city of Buenaventura, Colombia, it rains 258 days a year!

Waterlogged Soils

Waterlogged soils make it difficult -- and in some cases, impossible -- for plant roots to take up oxygen, which results in everything from poor growth to the death of the plant. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to remedy the situation other than pulling back any mulch around the plant to facilitate drying.

But you can deal with another issue, namely the fact that frequent rains result in nutrients being leached out of the soil. So once things dry out a bit, you should seriously consider applying fresh fertilizer, because what you may have applied earlier in the season is long gone.
Shop Fertilizers

Rain-Soaked Lawns

One of the most frustrating things about frequent rains is finding time to mow between downbursts. But there’s no getting around the fact that mowing wet grass is a bad idea. Wet grass blades don’t cut cleanly, which can lead to disease issues. Wet grass clumps as it’s cut, and it’s heavy; both issues can actually lead to smothering of the grass. Wet grass also sticks to the underside of the mower deck, potentially causing the engine to overheat. And cutting the grass while the ground is wet can lead to unsightly wheel ruts that are tough to get rid of.
The Atacama Desert is the driest place in the world. Located in Arica, Chile, its annual rainfall is only 0.03 inches. Incredibly, 550 species of plants grow there.

Fungal Diseases

Fungal diseases are finicky. Some prefer cold temps and wet weather, others prefer warm temps and wet weather, and a few prefer dry conditions. But the vast majority of fungi that infect plants have one thing in common -- they thrive in moist environments. So be on the lookout for abnormalities, particularly on leaf surfaces, such as a white, powdery substance, brown, black, yellow, or rust spots, or any unusual discoloration, and be prepared to act quickly if symptoms appear by taking a closeup picture of the symptoms and bringing it into the folks in our Solution Center for help in selecting the proper fungicide.
Shop Fungicides

Mushrooms in Lawns

Speaking of fungi, mushrooms have been popping up in lawns all over town, especially where trees were removed as a result of severe damage from last year’s Father’s Day storms. But there’s no need to panic, because although some folks find them unsightly (or in my case, fascinating), they don’t pose a threat. They -- or more correctly their vast underground network of mycelium -- are simply doing what nature intended them to do, namely decomposing all those tree roots below ground. 
Okay, I know this sounds ridiculous, but hear me out. When rain splashes soil onto leaf surfaces, you should use a gentle spray from the hose or a watering can to remove it. That’s because the soil may contain fungal spores, and it may actually inhibit photosynthesis as well. And btw, mulch will go a long way in preventing soil from splashing on leaf surfaces in the first place.

Bugs on the Move

Lots of garden pests reproduce faster in wet and warm conditions, and rains in particular can drive many outdoor pests indoors, so the battle against bugs occurs on two fronts. So make sure you’ve got pesticides on hand, including Bt for caterpillars (and a separate species of Bt for mosquitoes), Neem for aphids, spider mites, flea beetles, and more, and Spinosad for the broadest control of garden pests.
Shop Pesticides


Vinca y Vino!
Thursday, May 30, 4-6 P.M.
Last week's first Vinca & Vino was so nice we're doing it thrice! Join us this Thursday, May 30, and next, June 6, between 4 and 6 p.m. to enjoy a complimentary glass of wine, live music, and incredible sales as you stroll through your favorite garden center. This week's musical guest is Mark Bruner, so don't miss out! No registration is required.

Tip Of The Week

Those little mounds you see on your lawn after a heavy rain are a good thing. They’re actually piles of worm castings (poop) and they indicate a healthy turf.
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