Mowing Tips for a Healthy Lawn
Proper mowing is the most important cultural practice you can do for a healthy lawn. It is important to state that mowing isn’t necessarily something we have to do to keep the lawn healthy. In reality, the natural growth habit of tall fescue is for it to grow several feet tall. We force it to be 3 to 4 inches high because we want that manicured look and because of all the other benefits we receive from a well-manicured lawn, including pest control. With that said, it stands to reason that there are certain things we have to do to minimize the damage we cause when we mow. Here are some mowing tips and “must do’s” when maintaining lawn during the growing season.
Mowing frequency-Never let the lawn get too tall. You should maintain your cool season lawn at a 3-4” height. Never remove more than 1/3 of the blade at any one mowing. If you are mowing at 3 ½” you should mow when the lawn is no taller than 4 ½”. Taking less off at one time is always better.
Confirm the height you are mowing. Mow a small patch and use a ruler to measure the height of the mown area. Do not rely on the settings on your equipment. (Ask us for a free mower measure to stop the guessing!)
Never mow during the heat of the day, especially on windy days. Mowing during the heat of the day can severely dehydrate the grass, and it will turn brown.
Return your clippings. Grass clippings are 80% water and break down readily when they contact the soil. Use a mulching mower blade to cut the clippings into tiny pieces that will return to the soil. If you bag, you are taking away the very nutrients your lawn needs to grow.
Maintain a sharp mower blade. A dull mower blade will shred the tips of the grass blade giving the lawn a whitish look.
Check that the blades are installed properly. You would not believe how many mowers we find with the blades installed upside down.
Be careful when using a large garden tractor if the soil is wet. Lighter, walk-behind machines are preferred during the summer months. Walk across the lawn to judge the saturation of the soil before you mow. If in doubt, wait another day or until the lawn dries out some.
String Trimmers. Most people think that the edge is supposed to be very short or even scalped, and the result is often a bare area which will fill in with weeds and crabgrass. Always be aware of what you are doing with the string trimmer. Do not trim too short.
How Does Lawn Striping Work? The stripes that you see on a lawn or athletic field are caused by light reflecting off the blades of the grass. They are created by bending the grass blades in different directions. When the blades are bent away from you, they appear to be lighter in color. When they are bent toward you, the shadow creates a darker hue.