Lawns going dormant in heat

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 13, 2012

By Darrell Blackwelder
For the Salisbury Post
SALISBURY — A woman contacted Cooperative Extension late last week about brown patch in her yard. Brown patch, a fungal disease, was not the problem; it was the unseasonably hot weather.
Record high temperatures have been the nemesis for many fescue lawns in the Piedmont. Rains earlier this week have given fescue lawns a bit of relief, but hot, summer weather is almost a certainty in the next few weeks.
Fescue, the dominant lawn grass in Rowan County, is a cool season grass that goes dormant when temperatures rise above 85 degrees. Bottom line — fescue does not have the same drought or heat tolerance as native grasses or warm season turf. The excessively high temperatures experienced last week are not typical; most lawns are pale green or brown almost overnight.

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