Drought taking toll on local nurseries
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WESTERN NEW YORK — "Usually we look for this weather in August, but this year it started right up and it was constant. Hot weather and no rain," Lana Bilger noted.
That's had an effect on Bilger’s day-to-day operations at Menne Nurseries in Amherst, and Robin Coomey’s work at Stedman Nursery in Newfane; businesses in two separate counties affected by one widespread statewide drought.
"A lot of people are scared to go ahead and actually install plants and/or have us come out there and install," Coomey said.
Bilger says the nursery is equipped with an overhead sprinkler system and a staff who water plants on a frequent basis.
"We'll water plants in the morning, go back a few hours later and we may have to water them again," she said.
The water bills will likely keep climbing.
Both Erie and Niagara Counties are in the midst of a moderate drought according to studies done by the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Though widespread rain is expected in the area throughout the next several days, Orleans, Genesee and Wyoming counties are also categorized as moderate. Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties are listed as abnormally dry.
"The rain that we have received was not that beneficial at all. It comes too hard and fast and the ground cannot absorb the water,” Coomey said.
That’s prompted Coomey and her colleagues to make courtesy calls to customers to educate them on how to maintain their shrubs.
Bilger said it's best to water all plants close to the roots and with a steady stream and reminded homeowners concerned about their lawns that brown isn't necessarily bad.
"They're going to turn brown and go dormant during the summer. What you see with all these brown lawns is normal," she said.
Experts recommend you water plants during the early morning and evening hours.