Staying Alive! 12 Pro Tips to Sustain Your Lawn in the Dead of Summer

The season of parched grass has arrived. Fortunately, with a few tweaks to your lawn-care regimen, you can help prevent sun and heat damage. Follow these expert tips, and your carpet of green will last through summer’s hottest days.

  1. Do I really need a plan for summer lawn care?

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    Summer lawn care

    The short answer is yes, according to Mark Schmidt, principal scientist at John Deere. “Managing turf through periods of stress is not just about aesthetics, but developing and maintaining healthy turf that will contribute many benefits.” He recommends being proactive all year long, employing best practices that include fertilizing and aerating your lawn and following proper mowing habits.

    Related: 25 Ways to Beautify Your Yard Without Planting a Thing

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  2. Are certain grass types more drought-resistant?

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    Drought resistant lawn

    As Schmidt explains, “Generally, turfgrasses are classified as cool- or warm-season grasses. Tall fescue and fine fescue are more drought-tolerant cool-season turfgrasses. Bermuda grass, Bahia grass, zoysia grass, and buffalo grass are some of the more drought-tolerant warm-season grasses.”

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  3. How much water does my lawn need?

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    Watering the lawn in summer

    “As a general rule, your lawn and garden plants need about one inch of water per week to promote healthy growth,” says Barbara Roueche, brand manager with Troy-Bilt. If you have a small lawn, hand-watering can save on wasted water and energy bills. For larger lawns, use energy-efficient irrigation controllers.

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  4. How can I protect my lawn from sun damage?

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    Lawn sun damage summer

    The right hydration is key to saving your lawn from damaging heat and ultraviolet rays. Maintaining proper irrigation “could be as simple as taking a hose to the lawn every few days…[or] as complex as a professionally installed underground sprinkler system,” says Ben Massimini, product manager at Craftsman.

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  5. When should I water?

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    When to water the lawn in summer

    “Listen to your lawn,” says Michelle Gross, senior director of marketing at Briggs & Stratton. If grass seems limp or dry, “try to get your watering done between 4 p.m. and 10 a.m.” Otherwise, you’ll lose half your water to evaporation during the day.

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  6. How often should I fertilize?

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    Fertilizing the lawn

    According to Ben Massimini of Craftsman, “Fertilizing once a month is a good rule of thumb.” Barbara Roueche, brand manager at Troy-Bilt, also suggests dispersing your grass clippings after mowing, since they contain nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, essential nutrients for greener grass.

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  7. What are the best tools for summertime lawn care?

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    Summer lawn care tools

    Summer is the perfect time to pull out your trimmer/edger, says Massimini of Craftsman. These tools give the grass around your sidewalks “that sharp, well-maintained look that has all the neighborhood noticing.” He also recommends using a blower to cut down on excess clippings and leaf accumulation before fall.

    Related: 12 Tips for Homeowners Who Want to Spend Less Time Mowing

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  8. What kind of mower should I use?

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    Type of mower to use

    Jason Cameron, DIY Network host and spokesperson for Briggs & Stratton, notes, “If your mower is more than five years old, you owe it to yourself to check out some of the newest technologies…because it will cut [down on] the hassle that goes along with lawn maintenance.” Michelle Gross of Briggs & Stratton agrees: “Newer machines on the market never need an oil change.”

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  9. How should I care for my mower?

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    Lawn mower maintenance

    If you have an older mower, make sure you handle seasonal oil changes with ease, says Gross of Briggs & Stratton. “Prep work includes adding fuel stabilizer when you fill at the gas pump, checking the air filters, and using tools like Briggs & Stratton’s oil extractor kit and Oil Finder [which] make the task simple and mess-free.”

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  10. What are the best times to mow in hot weather?

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    Best time of day to mow in summer

    Ben Massimini of Craftsman recommends mowing every five days in the height of summer. He also suggests cutting off no more than the top one-third of the grass blade each time to prevent damage and promote healthy growth. Adds John Deere’s Mark Schmidt: “Mow when needed…during the morning and evening when temperatures are cooler.”

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  11. What mowing techniques do you suggest for summer?

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    Mowing techniques for summer

    “One of the best techniques is to mow higher to encourage deeper roots,” recommends Schmidt. “In addition to a higher cut height, keep your mower blades sharp to minimize damage to the turf leaves during mowing."

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  12. Are certain mowing patterns better than others?

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    Mowing patterns for summer

    “Alternate your mowing direction each time you cut your lawn to maintain and improve grass strength,” encourages Troy-Bilt’s Barbara Roueche. “Mowing constantly in the same direction inhibits grass growth and compresses soil. To make your lawn really stand out, try mowing patterns like stripes and diagonals.”

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