7/13/12

Low rainfall isn’t necessarily a problem for your lawn

Large portions of both Illinois and Indiana continue to experience very low rainfall and drought conditions, and many homeowners are wondering what to do about their lawns. With water in high demand, several  communities place watering schedules or restrictions in effect in order to conserve the available water. But what to do about your lawn? 

According to Richard Hentschel, a horticulture educator who works with our Lawn to Lakes program, the simple answer is – nothing. 

From the Chicago Tribune
“'If your lawn is brown, it's not dead,' says Richard Hentschel, a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator based in St. Charles (urbanext.illinois.edu/hort). 'The grass has just hunkered down into survival mode. The plants have stopped growing and given up on their leaves to conserve water and are concentrating all their resources on keeping their roots and crowns alive.'”
Lawns are capable of surviving the conditions, but one area of concern is trees. 
“Lawns are easily replaced, but trees are not. Even large trees need help to survive a drought – and if they die, it can take 20 or 30 years to replace that shade. Stress from the 2005 drought killed trees over the next several years. So put trees at the top of the list for watering.

Let the hose trickle for a good long time in several places under the tree's canopy. Or spiral a soaker hose loosely around a tree trunk. Or buy a soaker bag at the garden center that will slowly ooze water to the roots. Most of a mature tree's roots are within 6 to 8 inches of the soil surface.”
Richard Hentschel and Rachel Rosenberg (who is also quoted in the article) are both involved in our Lawn to Lakes program, which provides information to retailers, homeowners, and landscapers about natural lawn care alternatives and their benefits.

For more information about gardens, lawns, and ways to maintain them in these conditions, head to the link above for the complete article, and find lawn care tips and specifics for Northern Illinois, including information about watering, drought conditions, weed issues, and more at the new Lawn Talk website.

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