How to get your lawn and garden beds through the extreme heat

SAWS Conservation Consultant Gail Gallegos

Give your landscape (and yourself) a break and just help your plants stay alive ’til cooler days arrive.

Our Central Texas heat has always been a challenge for gardeners. But the extreme heat and drought we’re experiencing lately has been tough on even the hardiest plants.

How do we keep our plants and lawns alive through daily triple digit temperatures and nearly zero rainfall?

Adjust your expectations.

Don’t assume that watering profusely will make everything alright. With this heat, you still won’t have lush profusely blooming beds or emerald green lawn. But you are likely to receive a citation for breaking Stage Two watering rules. Most plants grow best in temperatures ranging from 59 to 86 degrees. When temperatures are above 90 degrees for extended periods, plants slow their growth and go into survival mode. At temperatures above 100 degrees, many plants could survive but will show clear signs of heat stress. Other factors, such as drought or wind, will exacerbate that stress. Plants are just trying to survive, not grow and bloom.

Strive for alive. 

When it comes to lawns, take the pressure off the grass and let it go more dormant this summer. Just like in winter, lawns can sleep a little bit when times are stressful. Remember: it’s not dead just because it’s brown. A deep once-a-week watering will keep the grass alive until the heat dissipates. The life of grass is truly in the roots and rhizomes. So let the blades brown for summer and thrive again come fall.

Stick with the survivors.  

Let’s be honest, the heat isn’t an anomaly. It’s becoming the new normal. Struggling plants are easy to spot. But look closer and you’ll also see great examples of plants that are truly shining through the brutal heat. Take notes and photos. Visit natural area parks and greenways to see what plants are making it without anyone tending to their watering needs. Many are commercially available at nurseries. So, consider replacing your water-hungry grass with these heat-hardy stalwarts. We’ll even give you a $100 coupon to purchase some to replace 200-square-feet of grass. It’s a great way to have a more resilient, water-saving yard that beats the heat every summer!

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