Our Lawn Care Practices
Mowing is one of the most important cultural practices performed in lawn maintenance. Regardless of whether the lawn is fertilized, irrigated or receives applications of control products, proper mowing practices are essential if a high quality lawn is to develop. Properly mowed lawns will have fewer weed populations, better moisture stress tolerance and generally better quality than lawns not properly mowed.
Lawn Mowing Height
Mowing height is probably the most important parameter of mowing. Lawn Grass, like other plants, must manufacture sugars through photosynthesis in the leaves if they are collectively to develop into a high quality lawn. Lawn grass mowed at low heights have limited leaf area to sustain photosynthesis rates necessary to maintain good plant vigor.
In addition to leaf area, a direct relationship exists between the height of the lawn grass and the depth and total mass of the root system. Research with Kentucky bluegrass has shown that root growth was more than twice as great when the grass was mowed at a 2.0 inch height verses a 0.75 inch height. In general, a lawn mowed too short will have a shallow root system with little total root mass. The impact of shallow, weak root systems is most apparent during summer stress periods. When soil moisture becomes limiting, the closely mowed lawns usually exhibit stress first and the loss of lawn grass plants is more likely. Higher mowing heights during the summer period will keep soil temperatures cooler, preserve soil moisture and help maintain turfgrass quality.
Lawn grass mowed at the recommended height will have deeper, stronger root systems. Mowing height can play an important role in prevention of lawn weed establishment. Research has shown that higher mowing heights result in fewer weeds per unit area. This is due to higher grass providing more shading and competition to the weed seedlings during the initial establishment phases.
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Lawn Mowing Frequency
The lawn should be mowed frequently enough so that no more than 1/3 of the leaf blade length is removed during any one mowing. For example, if Kentucky bluegrass is normally mowed at 2 inches, the height should not be allowed to grow beyond 3 inches before it is mowed back to 2 inches. If 1 inch is mowed, 1/3 of the total blade length is removed and the 1/3 mowing rule has been followed. During periods of active turfgrass growth, many lawns will require mowing more than once per week if this recommendation is to be followed. Proper mowing frequency is a key to successful implementation of the "Don't Bag It" clipping return program. If extended wet periods prevent timely mowing and the turfgrass gets excessively tall, move the mower height adjustment to the highest setting and mow the lawn. Once the clippings dry, lower the height adjustment to the desired height and then mow the lawn a second time in a different direction. This approach is termed "Double Cutting."