How to care for your lawn, trees, and plants during a drought

Landscape Care During a Drought

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According to the Minnesota DNR, a significant portion of the drought in Minnesota is in the seven-county metro area. Recent rains have helped, but many areas are still parched.

While you might be tempted to give your lawn, plants, and trees extra water and fertilizer during a drought, these practices can actually do more harm than good. When there is a drought, keep these tips in mind:

Water turf LESS frequently in order to conserve water. Allow grasses to go dormant during extremely dry weather. Mulching around new plants will help retain soil moisture.

Don’t fertilize stressed plants or lawns during a drought! The excess growth during dry weather is stressful for plants; even new plants should not be fertilized! If maintaining ideal water levels isn’t feasible, a better option is to reduce a plant’s need for nutrients during the growing season.

Avoid wounding plants and unnecessary pruning. Only dead or hazardous plant material should be pruned in dry conditions as cut surfaces act as entrances for diseases or attract insects that may feed on the plant tissue and foliage.

Certain plant-eating pests thrive during droughts. Pesticides can be used to help prevent foliage damage or infection but should only be applied to healthy plants. Weed pests can be manually removed or sprayed with herbicide on cooler days to decrease water competition.

Remember to water trees. Don't wait for leaves to wilt before you give your trees a drink, especially young ones.

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