It’s been dry in many parts of central Wisconsin, and you might be noticing your lawn turning from green to brown. If you are concerned about the plants around your house, you may be wondering what you should water first. Especially if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a big watering bill. Surprisingly, grass is way down on your watering list.
Plants that were recently put in the ground are most susceptible to drought damage. These may include trees, flowers or garden plants. If you have planted trees in the last two years, it is important that you water them regularly. They will need a good soaking once a week during hot dry weather. To “soak” your tree, you will need to turn your garden hose on low and let it run at the base of the tree for more than an hour. If you planted new flowers this year, they will also need watering. Their roots are still developing. Native flowers that have been established for several years will likely survive our drought because of their deep roots. Most of your garden plants fall in the recent planting category if they were planted this spring. Water gardens early in the morning. A deep watering once or twice a week is better than watering a little every day. Mulch will also help your plants survive hot dry weather.
If you have recently planted grass seeds, they will need to waters several times a day for the seedlings to survive hot weather.
Established lawns have turned brown in most neighborhoods. Most of these grasses are just dormant and will green up once it rains. Dormant grass plants have brown tops but the crown and roots are still living. However, there is a limit to how long brown grass can survive without water. If your grass is brown and beginning to get “crunchy” underfoot, you may want to water it one inch per week. Limiting traffic on the grass will also help it survive.