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How Arkansas extreme heat is affecting lawn care

With extreme heat and drought affecting the area, residents are wondering how to keep their plants and lawns alive.

ARKANSAS, USA — All plants are taking a hit with this extreme heat. With no real chance of rain in the forecast and next week being even hotter, you may wonder if there is a way to save your lawn, plants and trees. 

Experts say this drought is very concerning and challenging for home gardeners and commercial growers because this heat is putting a lot of stress on plants. There are some steps you can take in a drought situation to save your plants. 

University of Arkansas Extension Agent for Horticulture, Colin Massey says with watering you want the water to go deep into the soil slowly and infrequently. He says most plants require an inch a week. 

“That’s going to develop a more robust root system that can explore and find water better. We typically want to do that early in the morning to avoid so much evaporation and if possible, drip irrigation is going to be a big deal to try and avoid excessive runoff,” he said. 

Massey says to remove weeds that are competing for water and add mulch if you don’t already have it. Mulch helps keep weeds from growing, conserves moisture and helps keep plant roots cooler. If you are wondering, why none of your vegetables are growing even though you are watering them—it’s also the heat’s fault. 

“Especially with tomato plants, their ideal temperature range is usually around 75 degrees. When we get over 90, 95 degrees they will often just drop those blossoms or they’ll get poor pollination, so you may have a few tomatoes on there and a few flowers, it’s really just due to that excessive heat,” he said. 

Levi Schroeder owners of Levi’s Lawn Care says if you are mowing your lawn, you should cut it taller than you typically would to help the grass retain moisture. And don’t mow over the brown spots. If you want your lawn to stay green, he says you are going to have to water it. He says it’s also best to water your lawn early in the morning before the sun comes out. 

“Water about an inch. You can put a tuna can or like a frisbee and once that gets about an inch of water in it it’s good for a few days, three to five days. That way it will just keep your grass green but if you don’t want to mow at all and you don’t want any maintenance, leave it alone,” he said. 

If you do notice wilting or browning don’t rip plants or trees out of the ground just yet because they might still be alive. The extension office says it’s not a good idea to plant anything new, prune or fertilize while we’re experiencing this extreme heat.  

The extension office says if you have young trees or newly planted trees you will need to water them too because they likely don’t have an established root system yet. And try and water the entire root zone which is usually to the edge of the tree’s canopy. 

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