Drought Stress and Damage

evan1Now that we are winding down one of the hottest, driest summers on record for the Great Northwest, it is easy to see what all that solar radiation and lack of rainfall has done to trees, plants and grasses in the area. Whether its whole stands of dead or dying Douglas fir along roadsides and on public lands, or poorly planted arborvitae that were once a privacy hedge, now brown and crispy. The signs are everywhere.
There is hardly a landscape in our care that hasn’t been affected by the drought in some way. Dry, under-irrigated turf; sun sensitive plants with leaf scorch; Newly-planted trees languishing outside the reach of existing irrigation; the list goes on.
And then, finally, some rain. A little rain. Not really enough to turn the tide but enough to make folks forget about watering for a few days, or weeks. That rainstorm in mid-August probably did more to further the drought damage in landscapes than if it had just barreled on through with 90 degree temps.
For those of you who faithfully watered your turf and landscape plants, there were the odd consequences: not only were you keeping your plants alive, you were also keeping that complex and crucial society of soil organisms percolating as well. Grubs, worms, microbes all teeming in that moist soil and, a little further up the food chain…moles. Yup, in the absence of soil moisture and soil organisms, those little dirt swimmers were all heading for what little irrigated soil and food was available, and likely your lawn!
Other side effects of this dry weather include buildups of damaging spider mites on everything from fruit trees to euonymus shrubs. They love dry, dusty conditions that preclude the survival of their predators and allow them to feed and reproduce unchecked. Their presence is noted by webbing, stippled and falling leaves, and bronzing needles on spruce and fir.
By late October or November, we can welcome cooler, damper weather and let nature take over all the irrigation duties for the next few months.
In the meantime, Wolberts’ Plant Essentials can help stretch your irrigation dollar by offering our WaterMax service for your lawn. This product, either applied alone, or with our Greenskeeper Plus fertilizer program twice a year, opens up the soil profile, allowing moisture to slide right to the root zone, reducing evaporation and making the most of our precious water resource. We can also offer solutions to prevent and treat spider mite issues in your landscape.
Just call for a free price quote!
Here is a helpful link:
Drought tolerant plants and sound watering tips:
As always, information is free.
Give us a call to discuss your landscape needs or concerns.
Best regards,
Evan Ogden
Senior Tech
360 250 6346