The Do’s and Don’ts of Lawn Mowing

How often should I mow my lawn? How short should it be cut?

Some people find the short, putting green style lawn attractive, but attempting it on an average lawn can be detrimental. The number one mistake made by homeowners when it comes to their lawns is mowing TOO short. “Scalping” a lawn refers to cutting off more than one-third of the grass’s height. Grasses common to this area (Kentucky Bluegrass, Creeping Red Fescue, Perennial Ryegrass) are healthiest at 2.5 to 4 inches high. When they are cut too short, it shocks the lawn, and leaves it prone to weeds, drought, and diseases. The best plan is to keep your mower settings on high, and cut about once per week, encouraging growth of thick, and healthy grass. Another important factor is making sure those mower blades are SHARP! Sharp blades cut grass efficiently rather than ripping it out, helps the plants recover quickly, and reduces mowing times.

 

What do I do with grass clippings?

Fight the urge to bag all of the grass clippings and dispose of them. They are chock full of nitrogen and include 25% of the nutrients required for healthy growth. If you have a mower that mulches, it returns those minerals right back into the earth, acting as a free fertilizer, and significantly improving soil structure.

 

Watering… how much needs to be done, and when?

Generally speaking, lawns do best with about 1 inch of water per week, which is usually 15-30 minutes of sprinkler time twice per week. During the Spring, rainfall is usually enough for strong growth. If you have new seed down, you may need to supplement with extra water. The best time of day to water is early morning, between 6 and 10 am, while it is still cooler, and the heat from the sun is not as strong. It also allows the full day for the lawn to absorb the water and dry. Avoid the hottest part of the afternoon as the water will quickly evaporate. If you cannot water in the early morning, the next best time frame is between 4 and 7 pm. Do not water overnight, as it can lead to mildew and lawn damage.

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