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Drought is Spreading Like Wildfire in Utah



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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Drought has spread like an ugly plague across our state and states beyond. The forest fires, the drying crops and withered ranges all need water badly. As I travel the state, I have never seen many places as dry as they are now. One obvious solution is to select plants that need less water and can survive without copious, frequent irrigation. As with all plants these must be correctly established and need water to get started. If you select the right plants, they can then survive drought and grow well with less water. Drought tolerance is not simply a function of genetic capability. Many plants, if watered frequently, are not drought tolerant if water is suddenly withheld. Plants that are gradually given less water suffer less from drought than plants not previously stressed. Many shrubs will grow well with far less water than turfgrass. Install or modify your sprinkler system so that the woody plants are on a different zone than the water loving plants. If both types of plants are on the same zone, you will overwater the shrubs and not conserve any water. The following list is a selection of some drought tolerant shrubs that will help save water. Many of them will do well with only getting water a couple of times per month after they are established. Shrubs Artemisia species (artemisia) Caragana species (Siberian pea-shrub) Juniperus species (junipers) Lonicera x xylosteoides Clavey's Dwarf' (Clavey's Dwarf honeysuckle) Lonceria tataricaArnold Red' Potentilla species (Potentilla) Prunus virginiana (chokecherry) Rhus glabra (smooth sumac) Rhus trilobata (skunkbush) Ribes alpinum (alpine currant) Shepherdia argentea (buffalo berry) Spirea trilobata (three lobe spirea) Spirea vanhoutii Syringa species (lilac) Viburnum lentago (nannyberry viburnum) Yucca glauca (soapwood) For more information on low water use gardening, read my article in tomorrow’s Deseret News. Larry A. Sagers Regional Horticulturist Utah State University Extension Thanksgiving Point Office

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