Spring is a great time of year to revisit some essentials to having and maintaining a healthy lawn. Many gardeners spend considerable time and money to produce a healthy, attractive lawn. Proper mowing and frequency are important aspects of lawn maintenance. In fact, many turfgrass problems can be traced back to improper mowing.
Mowing height and frequency are the most important aspects of mowing a lawn. Bluegrass lawns should be maintained at 2 1/2 to three inches in the spring and fall months. Set the mower blade to a height of three to 3 1/2 inches during summer. Mowing frequency is based on the growth rate of the turfgrass. Generally, never remove more than one-third of the total leaf surface at any one mowing. In the spring, it may be necessary to mow every four to five days, possibly only once every one to two weeks in summer, and more frequently in the fall. Irrigation, fertilization practices and weather conditions dictate mowing frequency.
Mowing grass that has grown too tall is hard on the mower and harmful to the grass. It weakens the turfgrass, allowing weeds to move into the lawn. It may take several weeks for the grass to recover from a severe mowing. Another problem when mowing a tall lawn is the large amount of clippings. Excessive amounts of clippings are unsightly, tend to smother the turfgrass and create an environment that favors disease development. Grass clippings should be bagged or raked, removed and/or composted when mowing grass that has grown too tall.
When the turfgrass is mowed properly, the clippings do not have to be removed. The small clippings will filter down into the turf and decompose quickly, returning essential plant nutrients to the soil. Lawn clippings do not significantly contribute to thatch development.
Mow the lawn with a sharp blade. Sharpen the mower blade each spring. Thereafter, inspect the blade frequently and sharpen as needed. A dull blade tears the ends of the grass blades. The damaged tissue dries out, giving the turf surface a whitish appearance. Also, the torn leaf tissue loses greater amounts of water and increases the possibility of disease problems.
Alternate your mowing pattern or direction each time the lawn is mowed. Repeatedly mowing the lawn in the same direction pushes the grass over rather than cutting it cleanly. Also, different mowing patterns reduce soil compaction and wear from the mower wheels.
Following these mowing tips may make your neighbors green with envy, which will match the color of your well-kept lawn!
Any other questions you may have can be directed to our office at 209 Centennial Drive, Suite A or by calling us at 712-225-6196.