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Posted on September 29th, 2023 in Alert, Drought, How To, Plants, Wildlife | No Comments »

Purdue Landscape Report: Many areas around the Midwest continue to creep towards an increasing drought situation.  Currently almost 80% of the Midwest is listed as being abnormally dry to exceptional drought.  Current soil moisture data indicates that most of the Midwest is very dry.  Going into the fall it’s very important to supply enough supplemental water (irrigation) to make up for the deficit prior to the landscape plants going dormant over the next six to eight weeks.

Map of U.S. showing drought, U.S. Drought Monitor.

Figure 1. The progression of drought conditions have increased over the last two months in the Midwest.  U.S. Drought Monitor.

The fall is a very important time to limit stressors on landscape plants.  A stressed plant doesn’t produce as many secondary metabolites which aide in increased cold hardiness; so keeping your landscape plants irrigated during dry periods in late summer into fall is an important component of preparing plants for winter.

Remember some key steps concerning your landscape during extreme dry periods:

  • Don’t wait until leaves begin dropping to start watering.
  • Trees should receive the 5+5 rule.
    • 5 gallons, plus 5 gallons per caliper inch.
  • Ideally watering should occur in the early morning to prevent foliar diseases.
  • Mulching to 3” can conserve moisture and reduce temperature in the upper root zone.
  • Watering during dry conditions will help prevent future insect, disease, and other stress issues going into the fall and the following year. In fact, plants going into the winter that are stressed due to water deficiency will reduce the cold hardiness and therefore will be more likely to suffer cold injury and/or death.
  • If a plant isn’t receiving enough water, the amount of nutrient uptake will not be sufficient and will experience deficiency from nutrients the following year.

To view this full article and other Purdue Landscape Report articles, please visit Purdue Landscape Report.

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Trees in Times of Drought​, Video, Purdue Agriculture
Drought Information​, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Drought? Don’t forget the trees!, The Education Store
Corn Belt Farmers’ Concerns About Drought and Heat-related Threats to Their Farm Operations, The Education Store
Safety Harvesting Quality Forage in a Drought, The Education Store
Planting Your Tree Part 1: Choosing Your Tree, Purdue Extension YouTube Channel
Tree Defect Identification, The Education Store
Tree Wound and Healing, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources
Surface Root Syndrome, The Education Store
Planning the Tree Planting Operation, The Education Store
Tree Risk Management, The Education Store
ID That Tree, Purdue Extension-FNR YouTube playlist
Subscribe – Purdue Extension-FNR YouTube Channel

Kyle Daniel, Commercial Landscape and Nursery Crops Extension Specialist
Purdue Horticulture & Landscape Architecture

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