From front lawns to family farms, drought conditions continue to impact southeastern Wisconsin

NOW: From front lawns to family farms, drought conditions continue to impact southeastern Wisconsin

OCONOMOWOC, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The U.S. Drought Monitor currently has southeastern Wisconsin in a severe drought and that is leading to concerns for farmers, as well as brown and yellow patches on front lawns across the region.

Sue Schmitz was watering plants in her front yard in Wauwatosa when CBS 58 asked her about taking care of her lawn and plants during the drought conditions.

"It has been a challenge," Schmitz said. "Last week was the biggest challenge when the temperatures were so high. This week is a little nicer because I don't have to water everything every day."

Lawns in Schmitz' Tosa neighborhood on Jackson Park Boulevard have patches of brown and yellow, showing the impact of the drought.

"It's been a real cooker, especially last week," Kristyn Greenfield told CBS 58.

Greenfield is the owner of Bloom! Landscaping, and a horticulturist. She shared tips for proper watering of lawns and plants which include:

  • Watering in the morning
  • Watering at the base of plants, not just on top
  • Watering deeply and slowly
  • If watering in the morning is not possible, leaving a mister on to allow hydration

"When you water in the morning, your plants have plenty of hydration, they're not stressed out and as the day gets hotter, they have the water in the ground to help keep them moist and get through this kind of heat," Greenfield said.

The drought is also affecting farms in the region.

"So far it hasn't been a tremendously horrible impact, but it has us wondering," John Koepke, the co-owner of Koepke Farms in Oconomowoc, told CBS 58.

Koepeke said it is still early in the season, but rainfall is behind 2012's total for the same time period. Koepke likened it to a sports team being behind early in the game, but there's still time to make up the deficit.

"We're early in the first quarter yet, let's put it to you that way," Koepke said. "So we really do need the rain soon to really keep things from suffering."

Koepke said if significant rain does not arrive in the next two weeks, he and other farmers will begin to have more serious concerns.

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