This has been a really tough summer on our gardens, and this may be a new reality. I have seen many mature gardens lose stable trees, shrubs and perennials this year. It is important to water regularly, and to not count on a sprinkler system, especially for trees and shrubs. But, another idea to consider is to select more drought tolerant plants for your landscape. I found and article published in 2014 by the MSU Extension with some great tolerant suggestions.
· White Fir (Abies concolor) is one of the most drought tolerant firs and a great alternaive to the Colorado Spruce
· Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa) matures to 90’ and is considered the best choice for those really tough places, with a good growth rate when young
· Bottlebrush Buckeye (Aesculus parvifolia) is a tall multi-stem deciduous shrub with white bottle brush stems of flowers in the summer, even when planted in the shade!
· Bush Cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa) is a long blooming shrub (from early summer through to frost!) with flowers in yellow, white or orange, perfect for sunny areas
· Yarrow (Achillea spp.) is an easy to grow perennial with several different varieties, is a full sun plant, but drought and salt tolerant and not a favorite of the bunnies.
· Blue False Indigo (Baptisia australis) is a full sun/part shade tall upright plant with 12” erect clusters of purple flowers in the spring, and ornamental black seed pods later in the year
For more suggestions I encourage you to visit the MSU Extension Service website for this and other great articles!