Spring is Coming: Mowing
As we move into springtime, it is time to begin thinking about the top cultural practices in lawn care. This is the first installment of a 3 part series detailing those practices.
Mowing is possibly the most important of cultural practices. Improperly cut grass causes a multitude of problems for your turfgrass. It is also the one that you as a homeowner has the most control over.
The first rule to proper mowing is KEEP YOUR MOWER BLADES SHARP. Sharp mower blades keep the grass blades cut cleanly. This leads to less browning and then less susceptible to pests and disease. Compare it to shaving, when your razor is brand new, your skin is much less irritated than when the razor is dull and old. Skin irritation while shaving can lead to irritation and infection. The same can happen with plants. Common recommendations are that your get your blades sharpened every 8-10 hours of mowing or the end of every season. You can get your blades sharpened at your local mower shop or there are many tutorials online. Here is one that I like from Ryan Knorr Lawn Care.
The second rule to mowing is MOWING FREQUENCY. Golf courses mow every day, but does that mean that you should as well? As long as your blades are sharp you will not damage your grass by mowing daily. The main rule with mowing frequency is to never cut more than 1/3 of the grass blade off. For example, on a 3-inch grass blade only cut down to 2 inches. During the growing seasons this is going to call for more frequent mowing. Also, the lower you cut your grass the more frequent you must mow. We recommend for most lawns that you mow weekly. Frequent mowing does not only help with keeping your grass at a consistent length, but it also promotes horizontal growth. The hormones that push the grass to grow vertically are in the tips of the blade. If you cut that off the grass will be pushed to thicken. Therefore, leaving your turf thicker healthier and more resistant to invading species.
MOWING HEIGHT is also an important concern. Average height of cut is 3 inches for most varieties. Every variety has a sweet spot. The table beside depicts the suggested heights of cut for specific varieties of turfgrasses[el1] .
Mowing too low or “scalping” cuts into the crown of the grass plant and causes harm and possibly death to the grass plant. The only time that we would recommend ‘’scalping’’ is the beginning of the season when your turf is just coming out of dormancy. This will cut off all of the dormant grass and allow for the growing grass underneath to get more oxygen and sunlight. This is also the only time that we recommend bagging your clippings.
MULCHING your clippings is another benefit of mowing frequently. Mowing frequently with a good mulching mower puts nutrients back into the soil and increases soil microbial activity. This helps with the breakdown of the mulched material as well as increasing carbon and other organic materials in the soil.
The final advice that I will recommend to you is to ALTERNATE YOUR PATTERN. When mowing more frequently as I prescribed above in this article, mowing in the same pattern will cause ruts in your yard and will cause your grass to grow permanently in one direction. Have at least 2 different patters that you rotate if not 3-4.
IF you have any further questions please comment below. If you enjoyed this article please like, share or leave a comment. IF you need lawn maintenance or any other landscaping service in the North Fort Worth area, please contact us at 817-841-9935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.