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Lawn Mowing and Vacations

by Marcia Passos Duffy, All About Lawns Columnist

Summer means family getaways--sometimes for as long as two weeks. Aside from making preparations to care for your pets and home, you may also be concerned about your lawn and garden while you are away.

Vegetable gardens and container plants are usually the most cause for concern and rightly so according to the University of Illinois cooperative extension, which notes that these are the gardens that suffer the most if neglected during mid-summer, the time when most families plan vacations. This can be alleviated somewhat by mulching vegetable plants before you go to help the plants conserve water. Ask neighbors to help you water the container plants and harvesting vegetables (an incentive if you let them keep the vegetables they pick!).

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Lawns, however, require little care while you are on vacation if you do some prep work before you go:

  1. Mow the lawn. Before you leave, mow the lawn--lower the height of the blades on your lawnmower slightly to give it a shorter cut than usual. Try to mow just before leaving for your trip, preferably the morning before you leave.
  2. Water. After you mow the lawn, give it a good watering in case there is a period of mid-summer drought while you are gone.
  3. Weed. Check your lawn to make sure it is not being invaded by weeds, which can quickly spread if left unchecked. Spot-spray weeds with an herbicide, or hand weed if you don't use chemicals on your lawn.
  4. Don't fertilize. The last thing you want to do is stimulate your grass to grow while you are gone.

Take these simple, proactive steps to help your lawn survive and thrive while you are on vacation.

About the Author
Marcia Passos Duffy is a freelance writer and a member of the Garden Writers Association. She is a frequent contributor to Turf Magazine and Growing Magazine. Visit her site at

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