Over the last several weeks, the term “Flash Drought” has appeared in multiple news reports and social media posts on weather across the Southeastern United States. So, what is a flash drought? How is it different from a traditional drought and how can you protect landscapes from drying out during this rapid weather phenomena?
What is Flash Drought?
According to Drought.Gov, a flash drought is characterized as a the rapid onset of drought conditions. Conventional drought is typically caused by a prolonged period of little to no rainfall. Conversely, flash droughts occur when the combination of abnormally high temperatures, lack of rainfall, excessive wind or other factors cause a rise in evapotranspiration (ET) and a rapid decline in soil moisture.
Flash droughts are classified as agricultural droughts, because most of the impacts occur on turfgrasses, landscapes and agricultural crops. When moisture availability in the soil drops and plants can no longer draw in enough water to keep up with transpiration and other biological demands, plants enter a phase known as drought stress. By the time we see wilting, browning, flower drop, loss of leaves, and other visual cues, the plant may be experiencing a significant level of stress. In the same way that people often get sick when stressed, stressed plants become more susceptible to disease and pest invaders.
Because they happen so quickly, it can be difficult to predict and prepare for the impacts of flash droughts. People often find themselves trying to repair and save damaged landscapes and crops. Unprotected ornamental plants, shrubs, trees and turf are often damaged to the point of requiring reseeding, sodding or plant replacement.
Protecting Turf, Landscapes & Agricultural Crops
Using Hydretain as part of a regular maintenance program, not only protects landscapes against everyday drought stress cycles but can be a life saver for flash drought conditions as well as dry spells or irrigation failures. By converting soil humidity back into water droplets, Hydretain supplies plants with usable water for a prolonged period between irrigation or rainfall – minimizing the amount of applied water needed for plants to survive and thrive. And even when Hydretain plants go into drought stress they generally recover quickly once they are watered.