Saturated Soils and Landscapes in Delaware, 2018

WEATHER WOES have plagued us all summer.  Monthly data from DEOS (the Delaware Environmental Observation System) indicates that most areas in the state are already over the average yearly rainfall which is 41 inches of rain per year in Delaware. Data from Newark, Dover, and Georgetown show above average rainfall in May of 2018, with 5 to 6 inches in Newark and Dover, but a whopping 10 inches in Georgetown that month. Planting and plant growth was delayed due to cold and wet soils. Temperatures increased in June and July, with rainfall amounts above average. Delaware averaged 47 rainy days out of 100 over the summer months. A dry period occurred in early July, but temperatures were very high during that time. Total rainfall through September 17, 2018 was 40 inches for Newark, 42 inches for Dover, and 43 inches for Georgetown (these values are above our yearly totals!). Storms have resulted in higher rainfall totals slightly to our west. For example, the Fair Hill, MD weather station reported a total of 47 inches of rain to date. With 3 months to go in 2018, soils are very saturated. Saturated soils lead to poor root development and plant health problems, especially with newly transplanted trees and shrubs. Low lying and wet areas are prone to root rot. Trees in saturated soils with poor root systems may fall over with strong wind gusts. Remove dead or damaged trees near homes and buildings. Repair mower tracks in lawns (photo to the right). Make sure sprinklers are not running on automatic timers if ground is already saturated.

NFG 9/18/2018