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Help Your Grass Survive the Dog Days of Summer

by Brett Freeman, All About Lawns Columnist

With spring behind us, so too is the prime growing season for your lawn. Grass thrives in the mix of sunny and rainy weather that spring typically brings, so your lawn should be well-established and lush, ready for the less ideal weather still to come. The hotter and drier conditions that summer brings will take a toll on your lawn, but there are steps you can take to minimize the impact, keeping your lawn healthy and green throughout the season.

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Water before Dawn

The purpose of watering isn't to get your grass wet, it's to get water down to the roots below. But if you irrigate during the day, much of that water is lost to evaporation. If you have an irrigation system, set the timer so that watering stops about half an hour before sunrise. If you rely on sprinklers, try to turn them on as early in the morning as possible. It's okay to water occasionally after sundown, but grass that is habitually wet through the night is vulnerable to lawn fungus.

Weed Out the Weeds Now

If you've been proactive about weed control throughout the spring, then your lawn is already weed-free. If you're like the rest of us, your weed control window of opportunity is closing. Lawn spraying is most effective when temperatures are below 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Above that, the chemicals will still kill weeds, but they will also kill your grass. And weeds like crabgrass thrive in those high temperatures, while grass suffers. Before it gets too hot, spray your entire lawn with a lawn weed product. Follow the label instructions--most people tend to under-spray, with mediocre results. Cover the entire lawn, but spray weeds more heavily. After two weeks, spot spray any stubborn weeds that are hanging on.

Grow it Out

The longer your grass is above the ground, the longer it is below the ground, so as temperatures rise, so should your mower's blades. The more extensive root network that will result will allow your lawn to absorb and retain more moisture when it needs it most.

Remember, to have a lawn that looks good all summer, you need to help it beat the heat.

About the Author
Brett Freeman is a freelance journalist. He also owns a landscaping and irrigation company in North Carolina. Previously he has worked as a beat reporter, a teacher, and for a home improvement company, and he used to own a bar/live music venue.

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