What do we do during drought? That was my burning question. Denver is always on the dry side, but when people start using the “D” word, I get nervous.
I decided to go to the experts: Thank you to Chuck Montera, and the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado for help with this guest post written by Kristen Fefes.
The landscape industry is always concerned about water conservation, because we know that the next drought could be just months away. It may sound silly, but we really feel that it’s our duty to the communities we live in to educate property owners on their landscapes and what Colorado’s dry climate can mean.
Drought can have severe impacts on plants, and often it’s considerably after the fact. We all remember March 2003, when 20+ inches of snow pulled several front range cities out of dire water restrictions. And sure, we saw lots of broken tree limbs and other landscape damage hours and days after that storm.
But what was less visible at first was the damage that pests (from weeds to insects) had on turfgrass, perennials and trees. Some of those problems weren’t evident until even 2004.
Bottom line: with no moisture, plants are more susceptible to disease. “Normal” seasons should contain enough moisture to keep plants healthy, but extreme dry conditions like we had in 2001-02 and so far in 2011, can wreck havoc on plants.
This spring and summer, people will need to pay extra attention to their lawns, trees and beds to watch for diseases and pests, and make sure while being very careful not to over water that the plants get the spring moisture they need.
The good news? Landscapes thrive – and can even take some stress – when they’re healthy. All of that goes back to being designed, installed and maintained well, with use of best practices (BMPs) with every task. — Kristen Fefes
••• “Cultivate your corner of the world. You grow your garden; your garden grows you.” •••
Colleen Smith’s debut novel Glass Halo, set in Denver, was a finalist for the Santa Fe Literary Prize and was praised in the latest issue of The Bloomsbury Review. The novel is available online and through your favorite bookstore.
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