Last fall, we wrote a blog with the humorous (hopefully!) cartoon shown below. It is obviously a cartoon of Noah herding the animals into the ark; we said at the time, that if you don’t see Noah herding giraffes around your neighborhood, you need to keep watering all of your plants! Well six months later, we are unfortunately in the same boat (pardon the pun). While we did receive some moisture in early winter, this was the lightest snowfall for a winter in history! And most of us have received almost no rain this spring; coupled with unusually warm temperatures and relentless winds, these conditions might very well spell disaster for Kansas City landscapes. Just over a year ago, our area suffered through the worst heat and drought we have experienced in 50 years. While that fact is disturbing enough, the sad truth is the weather extremes we are seeing now are cumulative—a warm, dry, windy spring on top of a dry winter on top of a brutal summer will lead to devastation. As spring arrived, we began to see the effects of mother nature’s wrath: large evergreens (especially spruce) are rapidly dying out; shallow rooted and thin barked shade trees like red and hybrid maples are failing to leaf out; many other varieties of trees and shrubs are simply puny with small and misshapen leaves and dead terminal shoots. We can’t stress to homeowners enough—WATER! WATER! WATER! Newly planted landscapes need special attention, but even established landscapes need supplemental moisture! And this does not mean turn on the sprinkler system and hope for the best—you must manually soak your landscapes. We recommend hand watering for new landscapes and using a hose running gently for a couple hours on established plantings. If you have specific questions on how to properly water, please contact your Greenleaf horticulturalists—we are glad to help. In special cases, we are recommending verification and fertilization for large trees, especially if they are in high traffic lawn areas or in close proximity to driveways, parking areas, or sidewalks. Your plants need at least an inch or two of water per week, so please, help mother nature out this season and water your landscapes until she can catch up and provide us some free water!
Contributing editor: Don Archer, Don Archer Designs in partnership with Greenleaf Garden Services