Dreary Landscape? The Drought May Not Be the Only Culprit.

Juan Soulas

Let’s face it. Our landscapes don’t look so hot this year. The most obvious reason is the lack of rain. But does your yard look worse than expected? There could be something else going on.

Frequent watering can conceal vulnerabilities in landscapes that drought conditions will expose. Here are a few other issues to consider:

  • Brown patches in the lawn – This could be due to lack of soil. Thin soils are incapable of retaining moisture. Add 1/2 inch of loam soil in early fall and build it up over time.
  • Struggling drought-tolerant plants – Improper plant establishment creates shallow root development. Water lightly and frequently to establish correctly. Then, switch to deep, infrequent watering to encourage root development. Hand-watering is the most effective method.
  • Incorrect plant selection – Native plants have inherent mechanisms to survive droughts, and some even thrive in dry, hot conditions. Anything else will likely perish in less-than-ideal conditions.
  • Bad site selection – A shade-loving plant will always prefer and thrive in a shady spot. Know your plants’ preferred site conditions and don’t expect more than they’re naturally capable of.

Observe what your landscape is showing you as it struggles through the drought. Make simple improvements now and start planning larger, more extensive changes for when we finally get some relief from this dry spell.

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