Are we still in droughty conditions here in northern Illinois? As of October 5 – the day before we started to get all the rain – we sure were. Are we good now? We are better off, but not “out of the woods.”

Imagine a podium or soapbox and me standing in a town square. Got that image?

Ok, here goes my “sermon.”

As of Sept. 16, the U.S. Drought Monitor reports our area as “abnormally dry.” Have you been watering your trees, shrubs, and plants in the yard?  We have had such dry weather that there are not just a few plants that need to be watered, but a whole lot.

Given that it is summer, it is not hard to believe we need to be out in the yard watering. August is usually a dry month and that sure seems to be how it started for us. As of Aug. 5, the U.S. Drought Monitor website shows the more northern counties along the Wisconsin Stateline are anywhere from “abnormally dry” to “severe drought” levels.

standing water in grassy lawn area

Any homeowner who has suffered from flood waters in the yard will find getting the lawn back can take some time. Several factors impact the amount of damage and the recovery, including what kind of grass, what season, and how long the area stayed flooded.

Every summer, neighbors can be found discussing which is better, watering the lawn all summer or letting mother nature take over. You can find pros and cons on both sides of the fence.

person watering plants with a purple watering wand

Watering plants may seem easy, but it can inspire a lot of questions – When? How much? What is the best way? What kind of watering attachment? Can I use harvested water?

Water is a critical component of a successful garden, but are we watering wisely? There are steps we can take to make sure our plants have enough water while keeping our efforts efficient.

Calls and emails to the Extension office have certainly been trending on all things water, and I wanted to share a few of our most-asked questions:

Q: I am seeing cracks in the ground. I am wondering, should I be watering already?

The prolonged hot, dry weather pattern has created some vegetable gardening challenges. Garden plants (and all other kinds of plants) respond to the weather conditions by adjusting vegetative (foliage) and reproductive (fruiting) growth.

The hot, dry weather we have been getting – and will continue to get – changes how we are going to water the home landscape. Best management practices, or BMP, includes more than just watering (but water is so key to plant survival) and more than just your vegetable plants.

Tips for containers and planters