Our Mission:

The Rock Prairie Master Gardener Association, located in Rock County, Wisconsin, is the 42nd association of the Wisconsin Master Gardener Program.

This blog is used to distribute timely information to association members regarding volunteer opportunities, MGV highlights, and other social tid bits.

Horticulture related information is to be directed to the Horticulture Educator or the Plant Health Advisors.

This blog is not for garden related questions.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A resource to help you answer drought related questions

Harvey Kopp - Albany.
This field yielded 200 bushel per acre last year.  
This year he estimates it'll be about 3 - if it rains soon.  
Photo credit, Wisconsin State Journal

Several years back my neighbor bought a slew of young arborvitae to use as a privacy screen between his property and an apartment building.  I helped him plant them, and watched them grow into beautiful conical trees, an intense medium green.  I noticed this morning that three have succumbed to the intense heat and drought, and all the rest are dying.  It's like watching old friends die.

Driving to Madison four days a week I've watched field after field of corn go from robust glistening green to tepid greenish-gray curled and brittle, barely hanging on.  In some fields large patches are clearly dead.  Soybeans, which have been holding on with great tenacity, are beginning to wilt and curl.

Lawns have gone from emerald to crisp yellow.  Recently planted young trees and shrubs stand with leaves brown and curled, lifeless.

It's not happening just here.  The United States is suffering drought like we haven't seen since the Dust Bowl.  And there doesn't appear to be any end in sight.

There's only one thing that can bring life back to drought stricken plants - water.
For deep watering - turn your hose to a trickle

Or  use soakers

Or water bags

Sprinklers are good for beds, but not for deep watering

As Master Gardener Volunteers what can we do to help?  We will be looked to as a source of knowledge about drought.  We'll need to know the right answers to give.

Dying arborvitae
Drought stressed birch
The UWEX has put together a drought awareness website that is an excellent online resource that can help you answer those questions.

Located at Drought 2012 the website provides MGVs and area residents critical information on the impact of drought on crops, animals, water wells, springs, lawns and gardens, even families.  I would encourage all MGVs to take the time to peruse the website just to familiarize yourself with the many aspects of extreme drought and its consequences so you can answer questions when they are put to you.

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