Dust storms and red flag alerts are not what you expect to hear in May in Illinois. But these are signs of a very dry spring: last week, the US Department of Agriculture's Drought Report rated portions of northwest and southwest Illinois and southern Wisconsin as "abnormally dry." That's just shy of drought conditions. High temperatures and a lack of rain are to blame, in part, according to John Moors of Rockford's Klehm Arboretum:
"I assume this also has something to do our lack of snowfall over the winter. We didn't have good soil moisture down deep from the snow melt."
Moors says usually at Klehm, they only water newly-planted trees: but since it has been so dry, they are now looking at watering trees planted last year and the year before. Farmers and gardeners could get some relief soon, with rain in the forecast this week. If the rainfall isn't substantial, Moors recommends a thorough watering so plants can establish deep roots. He says that's an inch of water for lawns, and even more for trees.
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