Re: [gardeners] Rain!!!

margaret lauterbach (
Sat, 14 Aug 1999 08:48:29 -0600

At 10:41 PM 8/13/99 -0400, you wrote:
>Margaret, then what is apparent is that your Boise citizens and
>government have taken charge of their natural dry summer
>situation and have provided for their own comfort and gardening
>pleasures with Long Term Care.....   
>Here on the East coast, where we do have lots of mountains, rivers,
>and reservoirs, we run out of water AND electricity because we do 
>not have proper backup systems under duress. 
>If you could see how many mature trees have dropped dead;  how
>many hedges have lost bushes #3,5,7,8,9 -- how all the deciduous
>trees are already dropping their leaves, 8 to 10 weeks early; you
>would burst into tears, along with me.  Never mind the lawns -- they
>will come back. But the trees, now that's a sin. Our county has not
>yet imposed water restrictions, even though many of the neighboring 
>counties have -- they just asked us to be judicious in our use of the
>water. But we can still see a few velvet lawns with healthy flower
>beds, as well as parched lawns, stunted flowers, and dead trees
>right in front of the houses!  Apparently some people want to make
>a public showing of being 'good citizens', and have stopped all
>water supplies to the outdoors. It doesn't make any sense 
>whatsoever to leave a beautiful dogwood without water for over
>10 weeks when the temperature has stayed steady at 95 degrees
>and more, and with 95 to 100% humidity to provoke disease.  
>We had a catastrophic drought in what I believe was 1985 -- it was
>like the Sahara Desert hereabouts, and only 4 miles from the
>great Atlantic Ocean!  We have evidently made no improvement 
>whatsoever in our setup since then.  It does seem strange that we
>should send a space vehicle to orbit the moons of Saturn, instead 
>of utilizing the funds to make water desalinization affordable.
>We had an enormous thunderstorm today. I thought the windows
>would be blown in on the house!  And it rained lightly for exactly 
>3 minutes, 17 seconds. 
>Penny, NY  

Penny, I'd bet that most of the dying trees are in lawn or flower bed
situations, and are artificially watered as the lawn or flower garden. In
this part of the world, Master Gardeners advocate watering infrequently and
deeply. Tree roots grow deeper and can withstand some drought stress. The
bane of the extension office and of MGs in general are those fellows who
work for sod companies who advocate watering for 15 minutes every day.
That's appropriate if one wants shallow grass roots that are going to be
dug up and transplanted elsewhere. 
What's worse is that many homeowners say their timers aren't good for more
than 15 minutes. And yes, they water every day. Go on two week vacation,
and come home to dying or dead lawn, stressed trees and dying plants.
Everything has shallow roots. 

I agree with you, it's terrible to see trees die. Sorry your rainstorm
wasn't longer and more productive of moisture. Margaret