Re: The yard & garden line is OPEN
You certainly want to raise the mower in the hotter months. The more grass you have, the better the protection for the roots. This keeps the roots cooler and in really hot, dry weather, alive.
If you water, do it in the morning or at night. Both are better than in the hot of the day because you lose so much water to evaporation before it gets where it needs to go, deep into the ground. Don't sprinkle your lawn with water on hot days, or ever really. You want the water to do deep into the ground so that the grass roots will go deep into the ground to get it. Watering often but not enough promotes shallow roots which makes for poor turf.
I recommend, if you can afford it, hiring a lawn service to at the least kill the weeds, if you have a serious problem. The stuff you buy at the hardware store can be tricky to work with, especially granular, such as Scotts Weed and Feed. If you don't put it on when the turf is pretty wet, the weed killer will not stick on the weeds and thus is ineffective. It also doesn't kill many types of weeds. I know of a lawn service here that will guarantee they will kill ALL the weeds or they will come back and get it right for free.
Not sure if this happens where many of you are, but in Maine if an area needs lime, moss will start to grow. If you have a lot of pine trees, you probably have acid soil. A soil reading is a good idea and again a lawn service will give you a ph reading for free. Beware of the cheap, ph meters at the hardware store for $6. They do not work. We have highly acid soil and we went everywhere with that thing and all it gave were neutral readings. There are ph meters, like the ones the lawn services have that cost $200 or more. There is a reason for that. Thing of other products that cost $200 and think of their $6 counterparts. Yep, yikes!
If you do have a need for lime, it is something you can do yourself to save money. It is easy to apply (I'd get the granular and not the powder) and it won't burn so you don't have to be super exact when applying it. Weed killer and fertilizer are a different story.
If you only want to spend a few bucks and want to try to get rid of some weeds and green up your lawn there are Scotts and Ortho products that you hook up to a hose and apply that way and they work pretty good. Most have a high nitrogen content and kill most weeds. You need to be careful to not spray anything other than the turf. It needs to be kept off flowers, shrubs and trees.
Mulching the grass clippings is the better way to go. But bagging is cleaner. Mulching the clippings is a way to feed the grass and the clippings are high in nitrogen. I mulch whenever possible and put the bag on when the grass is a little tall or not as dry as it should be before mowing. This makes less of a mess. For anyone with not place to dump the clippings, mulch whenver possible. If you have a small yard and it doesn't take a long time to mow, you cand mow it once and if it makes a small mess, just mow it again and most of the clippings will break up and never be seen again. Also, going over an area a second time, in the same direction will really make your pattern stand out, if that matters to you. Its actually quite amazing how much grass you cut on a second pass. Next time you mow, do three strips, back and forth and then cut the middle strip a second time in the same direction. You won't believe how much shorter it is.
Sorry, I could go on forever. Grass is one of my passions. HA HA.