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Pat Sullivan: Taking care of grass in dry weather

A very dry June led to some yards going dormant, but weekend rain could wake them up.

INDIANAPOLIS — Even with this weekend's rain, Indiana is still in a rainfall deficit for the season. And your lawn is probably showing signs of stress even if you have been watering the grass.

Pat Sullivan from Sullivan Hardware and Garden said on 13Sunrise this Sunday that a lawn will go dormant without water over a period of about three-to-four weeks. "But that lawn needs some moisture in three or four weeks," he said. Areas in shade may not be dormant but areas of your yard that see direct sun most of the day will be turning brown.

But if you have been watering on a regular basis (experts recommend at least an inch of water per week), you will need to do several things in mid-summer to maintain that green grass.

Sullivan recommends applying fertilizer of most any type now if you've been watering. But wait until fall if your yard is dormant. Some summer fertilizers contain insect control, but usually don't address grub worms, which feed on grass roots.

If you're seeing weeds, spot applications with a spray bottle will work now, but will not be as effective with daytime temperatures in the 90s. "The best time to kill weeds? September, when the movement in the plant is down toward the root," Sullivan said.

Another threat that could be lurking in your yard is Japanese beetles, which will start to emerge once rain softens the ground. They feed on hundreds of ornamental plants. "If that does happen in the next couple of weeks, remember sevin, or even neem oil if you want something organic, is a good option if you want to protect those ornamentals," Sullivan said.

Watch Pat's full segment in the video player.

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