The word from Chicago? All is well. The spring's been verdant with fairly typical rainfall, and the outlook going into summer is thumbs up for much of the Midwest. But summer's never easy for you guys, even if water isn't scarce. The challenge is heavy clay soil, the stuff that swells in spring and turns to dust in summer. Tough time of year to establish shrubs and trees.
Think "root ball" when you're watering a new tree in summer. Focus all your attention near the base of the trunk. Turn the hose to a trickle and give that puppy a long, deep soak, every ten days or so if you can manage it. Next year, you'll be able to cut your watering way back.
Talking Plants for the Midwest Here's a couple of garden gems hand-picked by the DoD and Tim Boland of Chicago's Morton Arboretum. Notice the heavy emphasis on native plants; hands down, they are the most elegant solution to wet springs and parched summers.
Little Blue Stem (Schizachyrium scoparium 'The Blues')
Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum 'Northwind')
Ohio Goldenrod (Solidago ohioensis)
Prairie Smoke (Geum triflorum)
Carolina Rose (Rosa carolina)