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Extremely hot conditions are hard on plants — Here’s how to care for lawn and garden

With the high temperatures we’ve recently seen in Johnson County, it’s easy for plants to start to suffer from the heat. Some lawns may be less green and some plants

With the high temperatures we’ve recently seen in Johnson County, it’s easy for plants to start to suffer from the heat.

Some lawns may be less green and some plants may need extra hydration, but there are ways to keep your lawns and gardens cool until lower temperatures come in the fall. Here are some tips on how to keep them hydrated.

Watering the right way: When it comes to watering gardens, Dennis Patton, horticulture agent at the K-State Research and Extension Office, said there’s a trick to it.

  • Watering plants deeply is more important than frequency, since watering plants frequently but not deeply enough could result in water evaporating before it sinks into the soil.
  • “A rule of thumb when it comes to lawns is you want to put an inch or an inch and a half once per week, if you’re trying to keep that lawn close to ‘golf course green,'” Patton said.
  • If lawns have already gone brown, they can still hydrate with a soak every couple of weeks despite the loss of color.

What needs water the most? Patton said trees and shrubs should typically be prioritized when it comes to watering — especially ones that have been planted in the past five to seven years.

  • At the top of the watering hierarchy is evergreen trees, which Patton said typically come from areas with cooler climates and aren’t native to the Kansas City area.
  • “Lawns are easier to repair than a tree that’s been in the ground for four or five years when you lose it to heat and drought,” he said. “It’s kind of a hierarchy of systems.”

When is it safe to garden again? Generally, it’s advisable to wait until fall to start planting things again after the heat passes.

  • “Unfortunately, if you look what’s happened over the last few years with our weather patterns, it’s feast or famine,” Patton said. “Think back to in May and in June, we were cool and we were above average rainfall. Now it’s hotter and drier and below average rainfall.”