Brown lawns are OK in heat

JoAnne Skelly, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension educator, has a few suggestions for helping your yard withstand the heat.

-- It's OK for the lawn to turn brown. Bluegrass, a common lawn type, typically turns brown under heat stress and goes dormant.

"You can tolerate some brown in your lawn," Skelly said. "Lawns right now don't have to be dark, dark green."

Skelly suggested watering deeply on designated watering days and not mowing as frequently. Longer lawns, with blades up to 3-1/2 inches long, provide more shade to their roots, which in turns keeps moisture from evaporating as quickly.

-- Don't fertilize. Fertilizers encourage new growth, which Skelly likens to leaving a newborn baby in the heat. Neither a baby nor a new plant is hardened to handle the heat and will stress easier.

-- Mulch. To keep moisture in the ground around plants longer, Skelly suggests putting 3 to 4 inches of mulch at their base. Wind will evaporate moisture from the top of the mulch, but the mulch will allow the soil to remain moist longer.

-- Above all else, water deeply and never water in the heat of the day. To see if water is going deep enough in the ground, the day after watering dig 8 to 12 inches to see if the water reached that depth. If it doesn't, water longer. Skelly suggests soaker hoses as an effective deep-watering tool.


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