Last night I was reminded of how dry this summer has been when I heard a very unusual sound – RAIN!
Utah sometimes sees a rainy period in July and August (called our monsoon months) but this year is different, it is BONE DRY! Check out this Salt Lake Tribune article about the 2016 Utah drought.
Long, dry stretches stress me out because I worry about the damage caused by drought stress on perennial plants, especially trees. Drought stress is not always immediately visible; do not be surprised to see drought symptoms (like marginal leaf burn or dieback) on vulnerable plants next year.
If you have not been doing so, it is wise to deep water trees and other perennial plants now and monitor weather for dry conditions through the fall. Hydrating established plants, like fruit trees and berries, now may make a difference in how well they survive the dormant months and perform the following year. New plantings are especially vulnerable.
Make sure to check the moisture level under perennials with your fingers and double check that irrigation water is adequately reaching soil around root zones. Also as a reminder, it is important to periodically turn irrigation zones on during the day to check for cracked/tilted/blocked heads or other irrigation malfunctions. In addition, it is wise to deep water your entire yard prior to blowing out irrigation lines if weather remains dry throughout the fall. Perennial plants do best when they slip into dormancy in a hydrated state.
Let’s all do a little rain dance and hope for stormy weather on the horizon – we need some moisture Mother Nature!