Mowing To Perfection: How To Mow For A Healthy Lawn
- July 25, 2016
Mowing is crucial when it comes to maintaining a healthy lawn. However, getting the right cut and knowing how often to mow can be a bit tricky. Getting things right ensures that your lawn is green, lush, and beautiful. Mowing, like all lawn management options depends upon which type of grass you have in your lawn.
There is no set number of times per week that you should mow. All in all, ideal mowing frequency will depend on the needs of your lawn and will fluctuate according to seasons. The rule to follow is the 1/3 rule. Mow the grass often enough that you are not removing more than 1/3 of the height of the grass. When the grass is growing rapidly, you will need to mow more often. Mow less often when the grass is growing slow. Cool season lawns, like Tall Fescue and Kentucky Bluegrass should be mowed about two times per week in the spring and fall, and about one time per week during the summer. Warm season lawns containing Bermudagrass and Zoysia, are on an opposite schedule. These types of lawns should be mowed about once per week in the spring and fall, and two times per week in the summer months. Also keep in mind that dry, shady areas under trees typically need less frequent mowing than areas in full sun.
Always mow when your grass is dry. You should avoid mowing wet or frosty grass at all costs, as this can damage the turf and compact the soil. Wait until the lawn has dried out or defrosted before you head for the mower.
For the first mow of spring, you will want to set the cutting height to the lowest setting. From there, you will raise the height of the cut to the prescribed height for your lawn type. For the rest of the growing season, you will want to avoid excessively close mowing. Though many like the look of a close mow, it can weaken grass by encouraging shallow rooting, which leaves the grass much more susceptible to drought and weeds. You will also want to avoid keeping your grass too high. Lawns regularly cut too high can end up being less dense and have more diseases. Irregular mowing frequency can encourage some weeds like thistle. In general, Fescue lawns should be mowed at 2.5 – 3.5 inches, Bermudagrass lawns at 1-2 inches and Kentucky Bluegrass around 2-3 inches.
Grass clippings are good for your lawn. Many people think that leaving their grass clippings will cause thatch, but this is simply not true. Grass clippings are over 80% water, so they will decompose quickly (when you are following the 1/3 rule of mowing) and release nitrogen and other nutrients back into the lawn and soil naturally–improving lawn quality. Return the clippings to your lawn as often as possible. However, you should bag your clippings if your mowing produces clumps of grass all over your lawn, as this will lead to lawn deterioration over time. This occurs when either the lawn has grown too long in-between mowing sessions, or you have set your mower’s cutting height too low.