drought of 2012 may have left your lawn looking more brown and crunchy
than green and lush. Now that another winter has passed and spring is
upon us, what can we expect from our lawns and gardens?
will show some signs of heat stress from 2012. Expect to see patches
of turf that will not recover come spring. If these areas did not show
some signs of recovery last fall, itís unlikely they will bounce
back," says Kristi Gruenhagen of Landworks Landscape Services in
Sussex. "Severe or long periods of drought like we had last year
can permanently damage the crown of the grass plant. Slit-seeding or
over-seeding will be required in these situations," she says.
president of Cottage Gardener in Sussex, agrees. "If you didnít
attempt to take care of the dead spots last year, you will have to try
to do it this year. You might have better success if you get going
early in the spring," he says. "Rake out the dead material
and plant some grass seed."
You will likely
know by May if your plants and shrubs survived, Patek says. Some
plants may green up early in the spring, but donít jump to
conclusions if everything doesnít look green right away. "If
youíre wondering about a shrub, you can always scratch off some of
the bark and see if thereís a green layer under it. But if you donít
want to nurse plants back to life, you can replace them. Many people
prefer low-maintenance gardens," he says.
trees and shrubs with deeper root systems can handle longer periods of
drought. However, this spring they might continue to show signs of
stress, including increased risk of disease," Gruenhagen says.
Nevertheless, there are steps you can take to avoid problems in the
event of another scorching summer. An important strategy is to choose
plants that are relatively self-sufficient and donít need a lot of
water, she says.
native plants are more tolerant of dry conditions, Patek says.
"Plants indigenous to this region are typically well-adapted to
local conditions. They can handle even the extremes in
temperature," he adds.
Hackberry, Lace Bark Elm, Honey Locust, Ironwood and Hawthorn
Bush Honeysuckle, Gray Dogwood, Sumac, Cotoneaster, Barberry,
Ninebark, Rugosa Rose, low growing evergreens, and Snowberry
Grasses: Red Switchgrass, Bluestem, Sedge
Russian Sage, Salvia, Sedums, Alliums, Yarrow, Daylilies,
Coneflower, Rudbeckia, Barrenwort, Geranium Macrorrhizum
For help with plant
selection and other information, local UW-Extension service
websites are good sources that take into account Wisconsin soil
conditions and climate.