How to protect your lawn during our dry, hot summer

The heat wave hitting the D has taken a toll on the lawns of SE Michigan homeowners.

We're getting plenty of sun and plenty of heat but we're seriously lacking in rain.

It's great for enjoying the outdoors but not so great for our lawns. Homeowners all over metro Detroit are frustrated with dry, crusty, brown grass.

So what can you do, without racking up a huge water bill?  Under the hot blazing sun Tom Miller is doing his best to keep his lawn looking good.

But Miller admits so far it's a struggle thanks to a recent span of high temperatures and little to no rain.

"It's terrible in Royal Oak, water prices are out of sight, you can't water it like you should," said Miller.

Miller is not alone, drive down any street around Metro Detroit and you see more brown than green grass and vibrant flowers growing from the soil.

"Put a little bit of lawn food on it not sure it that will help or not," Miller said.

But lawn care experts say there is a prescription for helping to resuscitate your lawn.

First rule of thumb - turn the sprinkler system on more often but when you turn it on is key.

"You want to water in morning because it's less heat," said Kristin Eisbrenner, from Lawn Doctor. "If you water at noon, it is so hot it would be very difficult and it's just going to burn the grass. All the moisture and the heat is going to cause more damage."

Turning your sprinkler on when the sun goes down in the evening can also cause damage.

"If you water in the evening it can cause fungus to grow," Eisbrenner said.

Cutting your lawn when the soil is dry also requires a change in technique. Experts say start by using a different blade so you don't cut the grass too short.

"You want to make sure when you have someone mowing your lawn to make sure they're cutting it longer," she said. "(Keep it) maybe two or three inches. Mulching also helps to keep moister in the soil."

And be careful if you do any weed whipping

"If they weed whip along edge of lawn be careful not to scalp it, it will burn and your lawn will just be gone," she said.

If you can't afford to run your sprinkler system or even hire a lawn service experts say do the following:

"Try to make sure you give it some fertilizer so that it has a supportive system for its roots and it will come back," Eisbrenner said.

And that's good news for people who want green grass over hay.

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