Why you should keep watering your lawn and trees
With all the ways to save water during this drought, experts are warning homeowners not to cut back too much on soaking their plants because of the risks.
Brown grass signifies a lawn that’s low on water and gone dormant, but perhaps harder to spot is the fact some trees in our region are so dry they’re fire risks, not to mention on the brink of dying.
“I don’t want to sound alarmist but Beachburg, Constance Bay, Westmeath – those places are tinder boxes,” said ecologist Dan Brunton.
Constance Bay resident Jim Carruthers said he’s keeping his lawn watered because the trees around it are bone-dry, even going as far as putting concrete tiles on his house to reduce the fire risk.
“It’s important to keep everything a bit wet if there’s a fire, to reduce the chance of fire,” he said.
The City of Ottawa is advising those who draw water from the Ottawa River like Carruthers to keep watering their lawns and trees to reduce the risk of fire.
The Ottawa Fire Service said they’ve battled 34 grass fires in the past week, including one on Hopewell Avenue Saturday that destroyed a house.
“We’re not discouraging people from watering their lawns,” said spokesperson Marc Messier. “If we can reduce the risk of making grass less flammable, it’s of benefit to both homeowners and us.”
As well as the fire risk, trees under stress are at a higher risk of disease.
“We have to be really watching for plants that can’t take drought and water those with a trickle,” said Edeltraut Schmitz. “Not standing there with a hose but let it trickle for at least two hours.”
Another reason to water your lawn – the bugs that were eating it up a few weeks ago love dry weather and will be coming back in August.
With a report from CTV Ottawa’s Joanne Schnurr