Oklahoma is in a flash drought. How it could be impacting your plants

Data pix.

You've probably noticed it around your home: brown, crunchy grass and trees with withering leaves. Most would say it's just a common side-effect of summer.

“So, today's term is flash drought. It was so wet, so green, we had flooding back in June, everything shut off, now it's crispy brown outside. Flash drought, and it's developing right now in Oklahoma,” said Chief Meteorologist Mike Morgan on Tuesday’s newscast.

Oklahoma City is seeing one of the driest July’s on record after having one of the wettest years in history.

The flash drought is causing grass and leaves to dry up.

"Continuous rain to no rain at all, and honestly everything's suffered. Grass is browning out where it's not watered constantly,” said Resident Warren Palmer.

Just look out your window, and brown tree tips are everywhere.

"We had such a wet spring, and so it could be that these trees put on extra growth and extra leaves, and so when it gets hot and dry, so some of the leaves on the inside of a tree, they start to kind of start shutting down,” said Mark Bays, Urban Forestry Coordinator for Oklahoma Forestry Services.

And, some trees are more susceptible to browning this time of year than others.

"Cottonwood trees, river birch trees, sycamore trees, there's a lot of tree species that are water-loving trees that just naturally start doing this this time of year," Bays said.

Redbud trees are also on that list.

One way to test the soil to see if your tree is too dry is by getting a screwdriver and just placing it in the soil and, if it's hard to press in, then that means you might need to do more watering.

"It's probable that this tree will survive this. This is the tree naturally reacting to shutting down some of its leaves,” Bays said.

And, with only a small chance of rain in the forecast, it's best to keep that water hose nearby.

Of course, it may not be just the dry weather.

If you have any questions, you can submit a sample to the plant disease diagnostic lab at Oklahoma State University. It's free.

For more information, visit entoplp.okstate.edu/pddl/pdidl.

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