NOAA releases hot summer outlook: Here’s the forecast for Pennsylvania:
The Climate Prediction Center’s summer outlook was released Thursday, and it shows a likelihood of above-average temperatures for nearly every part of every state in the country between June and August.
The Climate Prediction Center, which is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), issues 90-day outlooks once a month. Thursday’s outlook also calls for a dry summer for most of the country.
Forecasts are trending toward a rare “triple-dip”, or third consecutive La Niña this fall and winter.
Five of the past six summers preceding La Niña winters have been hot overall in the U.S., according to Todd Crawford, director of meteorology at Atmospheric G2.
Various extended forecast models are also indicating it will be hotter than usual in the North and below-average heat in the South.
Knowing what to expect during the summer months can help us avoid long-term damage to the lawns and landscapes. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of drought and heat stress is the first step in maintaining the overall health of your landscape. Below are some examples of stressed lawns and trees and shrubs and what you can do to improve the chances of a full recovery after high heat and drought conditions.
In a lawn with a mixture of grasses (most lawns), the result is a patchy or thinning appearance as grasses go dormant at different times. Dormant lawns green up when early fall rains and cooler temperatures arrive. Irrigated lawns are less apt to go dormant but can still have some problem areas.
Dry slopes in full sun or areas along driveways and sidewalks are prone to drought stress and die back due to excessive heat. This makes it difficult to provide and retain proper amounts of water. Very frequent, deep watering is needed in the heat of summer.
Other reasons for brown areas in the lawn are dog urine damage, buried rocks or debris, and foot traffic when the lawn is dry. If you cannot water and you allow your lawn to go dormant, try to keep foot traffic low and try to water at 10-day intervals to insure your lawn will recover when natural rainfall resumes.
Trees and Shrubs:
Your landscape plants should be watered regularly through the summer months, but we know it’s not always a possibility for everyone. If you can’t water the entire landscape regularly, you may need to water the plants that are showing the most signs of drought and heat stress to avoid permanent damage.
Rhododendron leaves curl and droop during the summer months…if they lose too much water, just as other plants wilt. The pores through which the plant loses water and takes up air are located on the underside of the leaves. When the leaves curl, these pores are protected, and the evaporation of additional water is reduced. The curled leaves protect the rhododendron plant from more water loss.
Most dogwoods require supplemental water during summer and fall, especially during hot, dry spells. For care of flowering dogwood trees, regular watering once a week to a depth of 6 inches should help them through a hot, dry summer. However, adding a generous layer of mulch will help retain moisture and minimize watering.
Japanese maples are prone to leaf Scorch in the summer. Scorch happens when water is lost from the leaves more quickly than the roots can take it up. A wide range of environmental factors can cause this such as drought, lack of water, heat, and hot sun. This will usually not affect the plant long term, but the foliage can remain unsightly for the remained of the year.
To wrap up on the topic of drought and heat stress, the best course of action is to water if possible during the hot, dry months. If you are unable to water frequently, try to water the lawn deeply in 7 to 10-day intervals to avoid long-term damage. Trees and shrubs can be watered when signs of drought and heat stress are present, but ideally should be watered consistently.
At Dream Greener, we are happy to offer technical information on our website, but we understand the need if you require an expert to visit your property.
We hope our summer topics will help guide you and your landscape through an unusually hot summer and we welcome your calls if more information is required.