Probably the most overlooked and often forgotten about aspect of lawn care is mowing. I think that is because most of us think about mowing
simply as a once or twice per week chore that is dreaded almost as bad as the
annual spring cleaning. Mowing instead should be thought of as a very vital
management practice almost if not more important as fertilization and weed
control. Fertilization, weed control, proper seeding and other management
practices will accomplish very little if lawns are not mowed properly.
For most of us, now is a great time to drag the old mower out of the
shed and give it a good service job including changing the oil, filters, and
belts. Also perform any other routine maintenance that is called for in your
owners manual. Don’t forget to replace your blades or at least have them
sharpened. There is absolutely no substitute for sharp blades on your
mower. A good set of sharp blades will actually help the looks and health of
your grass by making clean cuts. Clean cuts will heal faster resulting in less
water loss and less stress on your grass, and it will prevent the jagged grass
edges from looking brown or off colored at the top. Proper tire inflation will
also ensure that you will make even passes over your lawn and will prevent
you lawn from having a “tiger striped” appearance.
For the best appearance and quality, turfgrasses should be mowed at
the proper height for the specific turfgrass that you have growing in your
lawn. Each turfgrass species has a range of mowing heights that will allow
it to grow optimally in your yard. Turfgrass species that spread or grow
horizontally, such as bermudagrass, can usually be mowed at a much lower
mowing height than upright growing grasses such as fescue. Turfgrasses
with smaller leaves that are finer textured such as zoysiagrass can usually be
mowed lower than turfgrasses with larger coarser leaves such as St.
Augustine or centipede grass. Turfgrasses that are under environmental
stress such as drought, heat, or shade should be mowed higher than grasses
that are under no stress at all. As a general rule centipedegrass can be
mowed to 1 ½ to 2 inches in height while zoysiagrass should be mowed to 1
to 2 inches. Bermudagrass lawns can be mowed from ½ to 1 ½ inches
depending on whether your yard is common (seed propagated) Bermuda or a
hybrid (sprigged or sodded) bermudagrass. Common bermuda is typically
left higher than the hybrid grasses. Harlan lawn care in moberly offers residential lawn care.
For those people with fescue lawns, plan
to mow your lawns from 2 to 3 ½ inches. The most common mistake I see
with fescue lawns is that we tend to mow them too close to the ground. http://extension.missouri.edu/ The
resulting “scalping” cuts will eventually thin out or else outright kill your
fescue turf. It is extremely important for us as homeowners to maintain the
appropriate mowing height for the type of grass that we have in our lawns.
If you hire someone else or even if you contract your lawn maintenance to a
lawn care service, it is your responsibility to make sure that they understand
the type of grass that you have and that they maintain it at the appropriate
How often should you mow your lawn? Mowing frequency should
depend on the growth rate of your grass and the amount of fertility you
provide it as well as the environmental and weather conditions that occur.
Another factor in mowing frequency is the optimum mowing height
that we discussed earlier. A good rule of thumb is to mow your lawn
regularly and never remove or mow off more than one-third of the height at
one mowing. For example, if you have fescue grass and you want to
maintain your mowing height at 2 inches, you should mow the lawn when
the grass reaches 3 inches in height or before. Removing more than 1/3 of
the height of the grass at one time can lead to stress in the grass and will also cause damaging thatch to build up around your turf. If your turfgrass
becomes too tall between mowings, raise the mowing height of your mower
and gradually reduce it until your grasses optimum height is reached.