Iowa’s drought makes it hard for homeowners to protect their lawns and landscaping

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) – Iowa homeowners may have to do a little more maintenance on their lawns to keep them healthy this fall. With more than 90% of Iowa experiencing some level of drought, most plants have faced higher levels of stress, so they haven’t been able to thrive as much as they did in previous years.

“Stuff didn’t grow quite as much as it usually does. I mean, just cause there was such a lack of water. And, we had hot June, and then it was kind of nice, and then we had hot again. So, it’s been tough.” said Culver’s Garden Center and Greenhouse Grower Bob Burton.

This year, Iowa has received 12 to 14 inches less rain than normal. And with such a dry summer, grass, shrubs, and trees are all more vulnerable to stress. Garden experts say care is essential in order to prevent weeds, brown lawns, and wilting plants.

“It’s definitely thinned our lawns out and the weeds are really starting to invade. We need to definitely make sure that we’re watering our trees and shrubs, and, if you can afford it, you need to be watering your turf,” said Greg’s Lawn and Landscaping President Greg Scharf.

And although green grass makes for a nice aesthetic, experts say it’s better to focus on other parts of your landscaping if you need to conserve water.

“Grass is hearty, it’s going to come back. It’s not just gone. We talk about that a lot, it’s more for aesthetic purposes and how you want it to look. But the trees and plants and shrubs really would, for me, take priority over watering a lawn.” said Joan Garner, Retail Greenhouse Manager at Culver’s.

However, in order to prepare for this fall and next spring, the folks at Culver’s explain that even if it may be a nuisance, it’s important to not under-water your plants as temperatures start to drop.

“I know it can get cold, I know it can be uncomfortable to go out and do that watering at that time. But when he talks about that hard frost, he really means into December,” said Garner.

In addition to regular watering, Scharf says using a slow-release fertilizer will help maintain your grass’ health in the long term.

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