Your Yard Suffers in This Heat, Too: A Survival Guide

RENO, NV - You know what these three digit temperatures are doing to you. It turns out your lawn, your shrubs and trees are feeling the same pain.

"When the temperature rises above 90 degrees plants actually stop growing," says Pawl Hollis of Rail City Garden Center. "They're in a defensive mode. They're trying to suck water up through their roots as fast as they can to go through their leaves to cool themselves off."

" Just like us we have to hydrate. Your lawn has to hydrate too," says Andy Gebhardt of the Truckee Meadows Water Authority.

So, your yard needs more water. After a long day in the sun, the water you put on it early in the morning is gone.

One adjustment you could make is another round of watering later in the day or, if your automatic sprinkler clock has a seasonal adjustment. Hollis advises cranking it up to 125 or 130% while the heat lasts.

"You don't want over runoff, but you still want additional water."

If not, add another cycle. Just make sure it's not in the heat of the day.

"It's against the rules and with good reason," says Gebhardt. "It doesn't do your lawn any good. Most of it is evaporating.

How you water can also be important. "Don't overheard spray on your shrubs," says Hollis. "Don't let that water get on the surface of the leaves and fry them."

Fortunately Gebhardt says thanks to the winter before last we've got the water to get you and your yard through this summer.

Hand watering is still allowed and, if you've got a new lawn, you've got a 6 week grace period before you have to follow the three day schedule.

How do you tell if you're doing things right? Your plants will tell you.

"The first sign is when it starts wilting," says Hollis. "You want to keep them rigid. You want to keep them hydrated."

Another way is to take a six-inch screwdriver and stick it into your lawn. "If it can go all the way to the hilt, your lawn is getting ample nutrients and water." says Gebhardt.

There are things you can do to your soil, additives and mulch that will help as well, but the key is just more water as long as this heat lasts.

TMWA, your local nursery shop or the folks at Cooperative Extension all have plenty of more information on water wise gardening.

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