This article should be considered a WARNING to any readers who planted or had us or anyone else plant new plant materials on your grounds since about the first of July this year in the Twin City area.

We certainly had a number of rainfalls earlier in the year.   Many were of the plundering type in which the downpour was overwhelming but not terribly helpful to landscape garden plants.   Following these deluges, we have had a significant drought.   Here in the western part of the Twin Cities where I live, I don’t think we have had an inch of rain over the past two and a half months.

I have an irrigation system which is scheduled to water the grounds for twenty minutes every other day.   It runs early in the morning, except if I am home weekends.   I like to watch my plants watered whenever I have a chance, so I turn the system on manual when I have the time to see the watering.

My irrigation system was winterized over four weeks ago….during a day of light, very light, rain. 

October is usually a drier month in the Twin Cities, and has been so all of my life.   We usually see a good amount of rain here in September.    With the cooler nights approaching cold nights, plant  need for water is not as critical as in warmer months….and the days of sunlight become significantly shorter in the fall, so there is less evaporation.

And remember although tree shade does reduce moisture evaporation from your understory plantings,  the big trees, mainly maples, elms and basswoods hype up their own water needs first and foremost when dry or not dry, for these trees when mature, aren’t protected by shade…….unless maybe by cottonwoods if you live in an area  big enough  to handle them.

Coniferous evergreen trees are not serious water robbers.  Most  respond very well when watering is reliable.

When the temperatures of summer reach or pass the 90 Fahrenheit degree mark, most of our garden plants begin to shut down to save moisture…….if there is no reliable watering available.

By far the greatest killer of  landscape plants, woody or otherwise,  especially among the newly planted,  is from lack of water…..more specifically, the lack of regular reliable watering.  

Soils also play a role in plant deaths due to drought.   I am lucky….actually my plants are lucky to have a great soil environment from which to grow.   There is no clay hereabouts…..for which I am grateful.    My grounds are loamy  by nature and made loamier by years and years of my mulching the grounds with oak leaves.   Only five  per cent of my landscape garden is in lawn…..which takes nine minutes to mow.    The remaining is in garden plants including trees,  and paths…..and my house, of course.

If you live in our area, and have planted or have had planted a  number of perennial plants, woody or herbacous  in your garden this year after mid July, I advise you  to get out your sprinklers this week as soon as possible and water them well.   It will also help your herbaceous perennials to make it through the winter.