Despite slightly above-average rains this year in much of the state, the past couple dry seasons could still return as a summer drought. Gardeners can plan for such a possibility, according to cable-TV garden expert Rebecca Kohls. She suggests native plants, since they’ve acclimated themselves to the local conditions over thousands of years. Kohls suggests contacting the Iowa native Plant Society, through Iowa State University, for tips and suggestions. If you have to water, the trained weather forecaster and gardenshow host says plan to it most efficiently. Kohls says 40 to sixty percent of water sprayed overhead on a garden is lost to evaporation. She suggests installing a “drip irrigation ” system to water efficiently, or water with soaker hoses. She says if hot dry conditions continue, you should quit fertilizing since that won’t help plants grow in such weather. One more tip for the hot-weather garden — Kohls advises mulching around plants. It helps retain water and cool the soil, and she says it’ll keep down weeds that in tough times “rob” nutrients and water from the plants you want to grow. Kohls is an expert gardener, a frequent contributor to ABC’s “Good Morning America” and the host of her own syndicated show “Rebecca’s Garden” on local stations in Des Moines and the Quad Cities as well as the cable Home and Garden network.
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