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.