The Ottumwa Courier

September 20, 2013

Drought affecting local lawn care

By JOSH VARDAMAN
Courier staff writer

---- — OTTUMWA—The Iowa state Department of Natural Resources published its 10th Water Summary Update of the year on Thursday.

Not surprisingly, most of Iowa is still suffering from a drought, Wapello County included. The National Mitigation Center and its partners reported Wapello and the surrounding counties are under a severe drought, and the state climatologist listed Wapello County in the 10-24 percent range for precipitation from Sept. 4-17. The normal average for rainfall for the period is 1.6 inches.

With the lack of rainfall, local lawn care providers are finding it difficult to keep some of their areas of business afloat.

“It’s certainly affecting the mowing,” a spokesperson from Perry’s Lawn and Landscape Service of Ottumwa said.

Doug Knott of Ottumwa Mow and Snow reported that the drought has affected their income this summer by more than 50 percent.

“This makes three summers in a row for Ottumwa,” he said. “Our business has been going since 1993, and we’ve never seen anything like this.”

Although this summer has been hard for businesses like Ottumwa Mow and Snow, it still does not compare to the drought Iowa went through last year, according to Knott. This year has seen almost zero rainfall, but the temperatures have been significantly lower than last year, and it has helped some with local lawns.

Other businesses in the area are simply having trouble finding people who need lawn care equipment. Gary Keasling, a salesman at Precision Equipment in Ottumwa, has seen the effects of the drought on their business.

“We sell lawn mowers and lawn equipment,” he said. “When you get zero rain, people don’t come looking for lawn mowers. Personally, I haven’t mowed my grass in three weeks.”

Although business has been a little slow because of the drought, Keasling sees the situation getting better as we switch over to fall.

“I don’t see any problems with what is going on into the fall,” he said. “It just depends on where you’re at and what you’re doing. The drought affects everybody.”