By Terry Eliasen, Meteorologist, WBZ-TV Exec. Weather Producer
BOSTON - Thecan be seen in just about everyone's backyard. And many have asked what they can do to keep their lawns and gardens alive and viable. All hope is not lost! Resident expert WBZ-TV meteorologist Dave Epstein has some great tips for us.
If your lawn is already gone, crispy and brown, Dave says it is time to wave the white flag. At this point, in the middle of summer (and with another heat wave coming), trying to bring the green grass back would be nearly impossible. It's best to let it go for now and wait for fall. At that point, he recommends doing some over-seeding in preparation for a big comeback next year. Once we get back into a more normal (wetter) pattern, put down some fertilizer.
If your lawn is on the brink, there are some things you can do now in an attempt to revive it. (These tips assume that you still are allowed to water in your town)
- Water between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. not in the heat of the day
- Water once every 3 days or so and for longer amounts of time. The water needs to sink several inches into the ground, reaching the roots.
- If you don't have an irrigation system, move the sprinklers around each day. Water one area for a long duration one day and then move to another location the following day.
- Don't cut the lawn too short! Leave it 4 inches long at least, you may not even need to cut it at all for several weeks!
PLANTS AND BUSHES
When watering it is better to use a slow drip or mist setting for a longer duration. Soaking with a heavy stream of water tends to just run off with the soil this dry.
Again, you need the water to get down several inches. Dig down and check that the soil is damp. If it isn't, you need to water deeper.
WHAT ARE THOSE TINY SPIDERS ALL OVER MY PLANTS?
Spider mites (very tiny) LOVE the dry weather. Typically, we talk about them over winter with indoor plants because of how dry it is in our homes. This year, they are breeding outside due to the lack of water.
They are so small you may not even notice them at first, but what you will see is their webbing on your plants. One of the more common places you will see them is on your phlox, but they could be anywhere.
ANYTHING GOOD COMING FROM THE DROUGHT?
YES! In fact, most farmers would tell you that this July is a thousand times better than last July. They would prefer drought to flooding rain every time.
You can water to help drought but there is little you can do if you get too much rain. Too much water also breeds disease and there was a lot of that last year.
Under these conditions, Dave says crops like peaches, grapes and tomatoes should be mighty sweet and tasty (as long as they are being watered). They may be slightly smaller in size but the sugar will be more concentrated and again, there is very little disease to take them out.
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