Feed me! Feed me!
If your lawn is looking thin, weak and generally as if it needs a good tonic you could apply a light dressing of fertiliser. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy or expensive. You could use tomato fertiliser or even rose fertiliser. You just need to ensure the nutrient ratios of Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium are low. You don’t want more than 10% Nitrogen in the mix. Applied evenly the fertiliser will spruce up the grass nicely. Alternatively you can apply a turf conditioner but that might be a bit more expensive.
A mulching deck on the garden tractor will be a benefit if you want to leave clippings on the lawn to protect it from the sun and drought. Less frequent mowing is likely now and it’s good practice to raise the cutting height of the mower or cutting deck so you don’t cut too short and expose the grass to the harsh sun.
The grass plant and soil microbes have a high demand for oxygen at this time so pricking the grass with a garden fork to aerate it is beneficial. If you have a large area you’ll probably want to aerate using an attachment for the garden tractor or a walk behind aerator. This is best done though when the ground is not so hard, after some early autumn rain.
To help green up the lawn that’s scorched and patchy, exposing thatch, irrigating heavily and infrequently will help the plant develop a strong root system. Little and often watering encourages a shallow root system. You want the water to sink deep so the roots push down to get the benefit.
If it is very dry you may have some persistent weeds and you need to deal with these before they seed. Dig them out with a small trowel or fork if there aren’t too many and patch with some grass seed mixed with compost, then water with a watering can. If there’s a lot of weed wait until September to give a weed and feed treatment. So, a little tender care for the lawn will see you through to the autumn when you can begin a regime to help build a healthy sward for next year.