Summer garden maintenance means that mowing, watering and weeding will need a regular schedule this time of year.

In Western Washington, summer lawns usually need to be mowed at least once a week and letting the lawn grow to 3 inches before removing one third of the blade is the best way to shade out many lawn weeds and it conserves water.

Your lawn needs just one inch of water a week. If you water too often, you only train the grass roots to sit at the surface and require more water. When you allow the top few inches of soil to dry out the lawn, roots will go down deep to seek moisture and this makes it more drought resistant and independent.

Many water districts offer customers free rain gauges to measure how much rain has fallen over a seven-day period. You also can make your own rain gauge by setting out a shallow container marked off with a one-inch height.

Here is an annual review of some of the best new products for dads, grads and anyone who is ready to upgrade their garden maintenance tools.

The last hose you’ll need to buy: Gilmour Flexogen Super Duty

This is the strongest, lightest garden hose in its class. Thanks to a patented eight-layer technology, this hose with a lifetime warranty is kink-, burst- and abrasion-resistant with brass connections for added strength. Buy this for someone you know who curses in the garden every time the old hose kinks up or leaks all over.

A quality hose can change watering the potted plants from a being a frustrating chore to something that can be cherished as a peaceful, zen-like experience.

Price: comes in different lengths from 25 to 100 feet with median price around $25.

Light weight weed wacker: Craftsman straight shaft 2 cycle gas powered weed wacker

I admit I am a weakling when it comes to heavy equipment. A lightweight anything appeals to me, but what makes this gas-powered weed wacker better is the new technology. You start the engine with a slow pull, not a fast jerk of the rip cord handle. If you have a large piece of property you don’t want a cord attached to your weed wacker. This machine cuts through tall grass and brush and also has attachments available for lawn edging and other yard maintenance chores.

Price: $169, but often on sale from Sears.

Best trowel ever: Corona Ergo Transplanter

Somebody (That would be Corona Tools.) took the time to design a lightweight hand trowel with padded comfort grip handle and a unique design that ends wrist and hand fatigue.

You will use your whole arm to dig rather than stress those weary wrist muscles and the narrower design of this tool makes it perfect for digging holes and prying out rocks. Added features include measurements etched right into the blade so you will know how deep you’ve made a hole – perfect for planting bulbs.

I love the sharp, serrated edge on the side of this trowel. It is so handy for cutting through compacted root balls. There also are two notches at the top of the blade designed to easily rip open plastic bags of compost or potting soil. The bright red handle makes it easy to find in the compost pile or lying around the garden. Splurge and buy several hand trowels, one for each section of your garden. Then just leave your trowels outside all summer poked into a garden bed. Now you won’t need to run to the garden shed every time you need to dig up a dandelion, slice a slug or dig, divide and replant perennials.

Price: Around $10 at ACE hardware stores.

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