For the past several years, much of the West Coast has been gripped by a devastating drought that has compromised crop yields and forced communities to carefully ration water. Now, a new drought has taken hold on the other side of the country in the Northeast. In places like western New York, Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire, this is the driest summer in a decade or more. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, roughly 74 percent of Massachusetts is currently experiencing drought conditions.
In addition to causing problems on farms in the Northeast, the drought is also raising concerns about wildfires. Massachusetts typically records about 1,600 wildfires each year. This year, the state has already seen more than 1,000.
“Some farmers are abandoning crops because it’s not worth the financial risk of harvesting them,” said UMass Extension vegetable production specialist Katie Campbell-Nelson in an interview with Boston.com.
Other farmers have been forced to choose between which crops they’ll irrigate, and which ones they’ll leave to go dry. If we don’t see some rainfall soon, the drought could have a significant negative economic impact on these farmers.
If you’re a homeowner in Massachusetts, chances are your lawn is struggling to cope with this drought as well. Fortunately, grasses are remarkably resilient. Even if your lawn is looking brown and parched now, chances are it will be able to recover fairly gracefully next season. Be sure to check out our earlier blog entry on ways to manage the effects of drought on your lawn. With a little care and planning, you can mitigate drought damage and ensure your lawn bounces back once the rain returns.