The Summer’s Drought

Illinois is experiencing one of the worst droughts in history with only 1.2 inches of rain statewide last month, far below the four-inch average,

Local landscaping and gardening businesses are trying to weather the dry spell in order to stay afloat.

Tonia Khouri, Vice President and Co-owner of Green Tee Lawn Care, says this summer’s drought has taken a toll on her business.

“Instead of our technicians doing so many stops in 100 degree weather – we can’t expect that so they do less stops, so it pushes everything back,” said Khouri.

And though it’s taken a hit, Green Tee still manages to save some lawns from the hot and dry weather.

Aurora resident Susan Orloff has been using the company to keep her grass looking vibrant. She knows first-hand how much work it takes to keep a lawn looking fresh in the summer, especially this year.

“Well it’s definitely been a challenge, having enough water to take care of my lawn, trying to find the right balance cause there’s a lot of yard to cover,” said Orloff.

Khouri says Green Tee created a new blend of chemicals to feed the roots beneath the grass and help it recover from the lack of rain.

“We’ve replaced the fertilizer that we typically use,” said Khouri. “We have a special blend that includes iron to feed the root system, not just the top because it’s the root system right now that’s trying to protect itself that’s what make it turn brown. So we need to save those roots.”

And it’s not just the lawn care company that’s taken a hit. The Growing Place, a nursery in Naperville, had better sales this spring with an unseasonably warm March but now it’s just too hot.

“Watering costs are higher [and] it has slowed us down a bit,” said Rich Massat, president of The Growing Place. “People don’t really want to come out in this. I don’t blame them.”

And while their customer traffic might be down, Massat says their call volume is up.

“One of the places that we emphasize is providing education,” he said. “People do have questions [like] ‘What am I going to do, my grass is brown?’ We try to coach them.”

One piece of advice he offers: make sure each plant, especially those grown in past years, gets at least one inch of water every week.


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