Mowing your Lawn
The first principle is mowing height. A lawn cut at the correct height has more ability to produce food for itself, will stay greener in adverse conditions, will reduce weed germination and is more resistant to diseases. Weeds and weedy-type grasses need plenty of sun and heat to sprout. Taller grass shades the soil and is one of the best weed prevention tools that can be used.
As much as possible, your grass should be at least 1 ½ inches after it has been mowed. This is not, unfortunately, a “bowling green” appearance, but it will result in a much healthier and vigorous lawn.
Mowing higher will result in taller grass with will shade the soil and will reduce water loss from evaporation.
When the grass is cut too low, most of the food producing parts of the plant (the leaves) are lost. This can result in a brownish lawn that can take weeks to recover.
Grass that is cut too short is also very susceptible to disease. Because there are not leaves the grass plant has no strength or reserve to fight off disease and is much more susceptible.
The second rule is frequency of mowing. Lawns grow at different rates from season to season and year to year. During the spring and autumn, turf produces more top growth. Your mowing schedule should match the growth of your lawn. Once a week may not be enough during periods of heavy growth, but every ten days might be fine during the summer.
The key to mowing frequency is to never remove more than 1/3 of the total blade height in a single mowing.
Type of Mower:
The best quality cut is obtained with a cylinder mower having a large number of cutting blades. This is the only type of mower that should be used on the fine grass types that make up a luxury grade lawn.
As well as cylinder mowers, rotary and hover mowers can be used on the coarse and mixed type grasses that you may find on the utility or amenity turf of a family lawn. You should also alternate your mowing pattern to avoid ruts forming which may cause compaction, poor drainage etc.
It is very important to sharpen your mower blades at least once a year. If you use a rotary mower, the blades should be sharpened at least twice a year. Dull blades do not cut the grass as much as they beat it off or tear it. This will show up, soon after mowing, as a whitish cast to the tips of the grass leaves. The whitish material is the sap of the grass which has flowed out of the broken and beaten tips of the leaf. As it dries is has a whitish appearance. A close examination will actually show this. After a day or so these same tips will have a light brownish cast as these damaged tips dry up.
Recommended Cut Heights:
For coarse and mixed grass types used in utility or amenity family type turf: In Winter, Spring and Autumn: Cut to 1 ½”. Because summer can have some hot, dry spells, the grass plant should be a bit higher in order to better handle these adverse conditions. So, in Summer cut the grass to between 1 1/2” and 2” dependent on the current weather conditions and rainfall.
For fine leaved varieties of grass that go to make up a luxury grade lawn:
In the Winter, Spring and, Autumn: Cut to ½ “. In Summer: Cut to ¾ “.
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