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Home / Tips and Tricks / If you don’t want a bone-dry garden this summer, here’s what you need to know

If you don’t want a bone-dry garden this summer, here’s what you need to know


Keep your lawn beautiful all year round.

D. Petku / ClassicStock / Getty Images

It is worth taking care of your lawn, even if you don’t like yard work. A healthy lawn will boost the look of your home. It can also increase the value of your home before a sale and help you save money on your utility bill by reducing solar heat gain (PDF).

Lawn maintenance doesn’t have to be heavy or expensive either. This guide covers everything you need to do to keep your lawn looking healthy all year round, regardless of the season. Let’s start with the basics.


Like other plants, your lawn needs sunlight, water and food to stay healthy. You want to choose the type of grass that matches how much sun you receive. Some grass-based grasses can do well with as little as four hours of direct sunlight a day, while others require as much as six hours.

Another consideration is the shade in your yard. If you have shrubs or trees, find grass that also grows well in shade. Meanwhile, some grass needs full sun, which means it needs eight hours of sunlight a day to grow properly.

If you don’t know what type of grass you have, a landscaping professional can help you identify the type of grass you have and how much sunlight it needs. You’ll also find many online resources to help you identify your lawn, including this guide from the University of California.

Use a DIY watering system to water your lawn.

Tyler Lizenby / CNET


In general, most grass needs one to an inch and a half of water per week. A smart, automated sprinkler system may be a worthwhile investment, but you can also set up an effective sprinkler system for less than $ 100. This allows you to automatically adjust the watering schedule by pushing them back for a few days after a rain shower, while ensuring your lawn gets an even distribution of water.


Spring is the best time to fertilize your lawn. As a rule of thumb, when your grass appears ready for mowing the first time of the season, it is ready for fertilizing. After your first application, fertilize once every six to eight weeks until October if you’re using a slow-release fertilizer.

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Spring is the perfect time to prepare for a great lawn season. Start by inspecting your yard for dirt or weeds and then remove them immediately. If you notice bare patches, overseed the area with grass seed and apply nitrogen fertilizer five weeks after application.

Then you should do that adjust your mower for the season. Sharpen the blades, replace the filter and spark plugs and change the oil if necessary. If you want to buy a mower, choose one that works well for the size of your yard. If you have a yard that is larger than half an acre, a riding lawn mower will make the job much more manageable, as it will likely have a wider cutting width.

Set your mower to the highest cutting setting when you mow for the first time of the season. This will trim as little as possible, up to a third of each blade of grass. With longer blade length, grass absorbs more sunlight. This, in turn, promotes root growth. Spring is also an excellent time to aerate your garden. Aerating your lawn allows the fertilizer to penetrate deep into the roots of your grass.


During the hot summer months, keep mowing your lawn high. This allows grass roots to become stronger. You also want to keep applying fertilizer every six to eight weeks.

In the summer you also need to be proactive in controlling weeds. Use a targeted post-emergence pesticide to keep weeds from sprouting while protecting your grass. You should also have a grub control product on hand to prevent the spread of insect pests such as Japanese beetles.

Since many climates are warmer and drier this time of year, make sure to water once or twice a week as well. Warm weather also increases water loss through evaporation. Try to water your lawn in the early morning hours when the temperature is relatively cool.

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Continue to water, fertilize, and mow on a schedule as needed. Keeping the same schedule every year is essential to keep your lawn healthy, as fertilizing or aerating too late in the season can limit nutrient absorption.

At this point, overseed if you notice bare patches in your grass from pedestrians, pets, or other causes. Early fall is a critical time to do this, as the soil is still warm and moist.

You will also want to prepare your grass for the colder months to come. As you approach the first frost, lower the blade height with each cut. At your last mow of the season, your grass should be between five and five inches, which can prevent snow mold.


If you live in an area with a cooler climate, maintenance during the cold winter months will be much less demanding. However, you still need to remain vigilant. For example, avoid unnecessary damage to the lawn by not walking pedestrians over it.

And if you need to thaw your walkways, go for a product with calcium chloride. This will prevent your grass from getting salt damage. Once the temperature rises above freezing, rinse your lawn thoroughly to flush out excess salt.

Additionally, if you need to shovel snow from your driveway or sidewalk, don’t put piles on your grass. All that extra weight can result in soil compaction, leaving bare spots in your yard. If you live in a warmer climate, you should keep mowing your grass. You also want to leave the blades on longer to protect them from the colder weather.

Ultimately, these tips can keep your garden looking great no matter the season. Don’t forget to regularly inspect your yard to assess its health. By immediately detecting and correcting fault signals, you can help prevent further problems down the road.

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