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No one wants to look out their windows to see a yard filled with brown patches, or pull in their driveway and be greeted by sad, thirsty flowerbeds. While the summer sun can test even the greenest of thumbs, there are some simple steps to give your grass and plantings a fighting chance during the hottest months.

1. Let It Grow

Recommendations will vary depending on the type of grass you have, but one of the most common mistakes is cutting your yard too short. A closely cropped yard can look nice but will be a problem when temperatures rise. Grass that is too short may not have the healthy roots to survive a hot, dry period. And remember to mow regularly. Cutting more than one-third of the total height of the grass can also put it at risk.

2. Don’t Overwater

While watering regularly is critical, there is such a thing as too much water when it comes to your yard. If the ground stays wet all the time, your grass may be susceptible to diseases that can develop in the soil. Yards typically do best with about one inch of water per week. Watering deeply once or twice a week is a better approach than a little every day.

3. Mulch Equals Moisture

Mulching your flower beds can go a long way to keeping your flowers and plants adequately watered during the summer. In addition to its aesthetic appeal, mulch can retain moisture for your plantings, which may require more water than your grass.

4. Consider Native Plants

Your best chance to have a yard that flourishes in your climate is to choose plants with a reputation for survival. Visit your local nursery to find plants that thrive in the weather in your area. Choosing plants based on what catches your eye rather than maintenance needs could have you struggling year-round.

5. Don’t Wait

One of the simplest ways to ensure summer success is to prepare for it as soon as possible. Having an ongoing gardening plan of fertilization, watering, weeding, pest control and otherwise keeping your yard happy and healthy will prevent problems before they start, making the heat battle a breeze.

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