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Heat Takes Toll on Plants

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FAYETTEVILLE — It's a homeowner's dream -- a thick, plush green lawn. Yet, in this kindof heat, no matter how much you mow, water, and weed-eat, it never seemsto be enough.

Fayetteville landscaper Cindy Funk has been designing and maintaingprize-winning lawns for the last nine years. One of the things shenotices is that most people do it all wrong.

Most grass is best left one-and-a-half to two inches long when you mow it. Most grass needs at least an inch of water a week, and the grass will doeven better if you water it in the morning.

Grass is not the only concern. Flowering shrubs and bushes also needspecial attention on long, hot days.

If you water them too much, you maynotice a whitish substance forming on the shrub's leaves. It's calledpowdery mildew, and once you see the crusty powder on the leaves, it isalready too late to save the plant.

The only way to cure a plant of the powdery problem is to cut below themildew, and let it grow back.

The bottom line, says Funk, is that you cannot have a beautiful lawn bystitting around and watching it die.

Do what you can to enjoy your lawn now -- the first day of fall is almosttwo months away.