Drought Puts Plants and Trees Under Stress

Posted at: 12/03/2012 5:36 PM
Updated at: 12/03/2012 5:41 PM
By: Katie Eldred

(ABC 6 News) -- With extreme drought conditions in much of southern Minnesota Monday’s little bit of rain was much needed. But our plants and trees could use a lot more.

The lack of rain and snow has our plants and trees down right stressed.

"We've had two years now of reduced rainfall that have caused long term stress for the landscape," said Angela Gupta.

Gupta is a forestry teacher with the University of Minnesota, she says Heading into winter with such dry conditions will make things even tougher.

"It's hard when the ground is frozen trees can't absorb moisture and when the ground is dry they really can't do it," said Gupta.

Much of the area is in severe drought conditions. In Minnesota we are 8 inches below the average total for rainfall, and in Iowa they are fifteen inches below average.

One of the biggest concerns is that with another winter like last year with very little snowfall, these already stressed trees will become easy targets for pests.

"The drought may kill off some trees, but often it's secondary issues like funguses and insects," said Gupta.

While you can't control the weather you can give your plants and trees a boost.

"You can water these newly planted plants and give them a good drink," said Scott Moon.

Moon of Sargents Garden says until the ground freezes you can keep watering your plants. If it's doesn't snow like last year, you should think about some other options.

"You can use Wilt Proof, also try using burlap around the shrubs, and mulching is really important," said Moon.

But the only real solution for the landscape.

"We really need snow not only for the trees, but for farmers they really need that moisture," said Moon.

Without snow you may be spending a lot more time in the yard next spring.

"We're really going to have to baby our land," said Gupta.

So far in Minnesota we have only seen 0.1" of snow which is 7.6" below average. In Iowa we have only seen a trace of snow which is 5.3" below average.