Although we’ve been looking at drought conditions for some time, news comes from the University of Minnesota extension climatologist Mark Seeley that we are looking at more moisture through late winter up to planting time. Click on Mark’s name for the full article.
Up north they’ve already encountered more recent snowfall but south of the metro has been a bit slim although we’ve experienced rain and a few inches of snow.
Seeley doesn’t say the drought is ending but the forecast models are showing, what he calls, frequent weather disturbances, that will likely bring snow and rain into Spring. There will also likely be some very cold temps yet through February, at least for the northern parts of Minnesota. We’ve just experienced a mini cold front and looks like we may have another. With little snow cover, that can be a problem for plants and many master gardeners have been seeing it already.
Current soil temperatures and deeper frost depths between 20 and 30 inches can prevent late winter/early spring from recharging soil moisture levels causing injury to landscape plants and crops like alfalfa. While Minnesota hasn’t experienced the drought quite as badly as other states, Seeley says this moisture won’t completely alleviate the dry conditions.
Climatologists and government agencies are concerned with low lake and river levels and that means that gardeners who are planning their gardens should also consider planting more drought tolerant perennials. Look for plants that have fuzzy leaves, they capture moisture better. Think Lamb’s Ears. Gray leafed plants reflect sunlight, therefore they don’t lose as much moisture to evaporation. Think Russian Sage. Also think succulents like sedum. Check out my website gardenbite.com for more information.