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Save Your Lawns From Hot, Dry Weather

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Has your yard turned brown and crispy? Have you just about given up on it? Don't despair. There are ways to give new life to your lawn.

The drought conditions baking lawns across the state have been developing since last winter.

"Unless something changes, I fully anticipate a lot of people are going to be reseeding this fall," said Erv Evans, a consumer horticulturist for the Cooperative Extension Service.

"If we don't get rainfall shortly, our water source is going to dwindle, and so is our business," said Steve Carroll, who grows turf at N.C. State's research farm.

Carroll said he is trying to keep 80 acres of grass green. He recommends cutting your grass taller in these dry times.

"Try to mow a little higher in the late spring and summer, raise your height to 3 or 3 1/2 inches. That helps shade the ground," Carroll said.

Evans said keeping about one-half inch of thatch in the yard helps shade the soil also.

"If it is bare ground, it's hotter and drier and when it does rain, more of it does run off instead of soaking in," he said.

Evans said watering the correct way makes a difference.

"There are different theories on it, but the worst thing you can do is to water light every day because you are setting yourself up for grass that is already stressed to now develop disease problems," he said.

Evans said there are a number of ways to measure how much water you put on your lawn.

"Get a tuna fish can or something shallow and mark one inch on it or a rain gauge and put it near where the sprinkler is and actually measure the amount of water you put out," he said.

Experts also suggest watering at night or very early in the morning.


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