There are ways to limit plant and lawn stress as drought conditions worsen across mid-Michigan

Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 7:46 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (6/10/21) - Drought conditions continue to get worse across mid-Michigan and the state.

You may be wondering what we can do to save our lawns and gardens.

With water rates through the roof, it can get expensive to keep your grass nice and green.

However, there are some ways to manage these bone dry conditions.

Nearly 30% of the state and much of mid-Michigan is now in a severe drought.

That’s taking a toll on plants and lawns that were thriving earlier this spring.

“I told my husband that we were going to have to start watering it or the grass is going to die because we haven’t seen rain. And, you know, for the last two days, I’ve bene waiting for the rain. The clouds will get gray, but no rain would ever show up,” said Grand Blanc resident Alicia Fordham.

Genesee County Parks Horticulturist Brian Van Patten says you need to pick your battles.

“Choose your plants wisely. A good example is selecting native species. They provide a lot of ecological benefits as well as beautification.

Native plants also learn to adapt as conditions change over time.

Some good choices are Mountain Mint or Prairie Blazing Star.

Van Patten also has a good tip when it comes to lawns.

“To me, the priority is not so much the turf maintenance as it is your perennials, your shrubs and your trees. We invest a little bit more in our trees and our shrubs.”

Lawns can rebound once rain returns, while plants need more attention - that’s where your focus should be in the short term.

Flowers can start to wilt in a hurry if left too long unattended.

But, if you water, you want to do it the right way, according to Superior Lawn & Landscape Senior Designer Jennifer Hunter.

“So how you water efficiently is water really deep and heavily at the root of the plant. That’ll insure everything is getting to the root system. And then you also want to make sure your plants are heavily mulched to hold that moisture in place.”>

Soaker hoses can provide that slow release of water.

Speaking of water, lawns need about 20 minutes worth three times a week to keep them green.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature won’t provide much over the next couple of weeks.

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