Lawn Mowing and the Health of Your Lawn
By:Jonathan Manning, CLT
A Better Garden Maintenance, LLC
There are many things which help create lush, healthy green lawns. Most of these factors are included in the simple act of how you maintain your lawn. The frequency of mowing is a huge factor as well as having sharp blades on the lawn mowers when cutting grass. The height to which the grass is mowed influences water usage and weed growth. The mulching of grass clippings back into the turf area has many beneficial effects and is strongly encouraged. It is important to remember that each of these are important and should be done in combination for the best effect.
We receive many calls asking to have every other week lawn service. The issue with mowing every 14 days is that the grass becomes overgrown. The recommendation is to remove no more that 1/3 of the irrigated turf area at any one time. This means if the grass grows from 2 1/2 inches to 6 inches in 14 days, we should only cut down to 4 inches. This soon becomes impractible as you can imagine as our mowers do not cut that high. When a lawn is cut by more than a third it can stunt the plant. This can allow weed seeds to infiltrate the mat of grass. It also requires the clippings be collected or the lawn to be mown twice and then blown to distribute the clippings. No matter what, the lawn never looks as good as a healthy lawn which is regularly maintained on a weekly schedule.
A healthy lawn can look like it has issues if among the sea of green grass there is brown tips. These brown tips are usually nothing more than dead tips of grass. A sharp lawn mower blade cleanly cuts the blade of the grass plant. When a dull blade is used the grass is ripped and shredded. The dull lawn mower blade causes the cell compartments to rupture and die back causing the brown tips. Make sure sharp blades are used in your turf areas to keep the beautiful green color in your lawn.
The height to which the lawn is mowed might be one of the most influential, besides watering, in keeping a green and healthy lawn. Most people have their own opinion of the height to which an area of grass should be mowed. Sometimes the belief behind this is that if cut at a certain height, such as 1 1/2 inches, that the grass will look uniform once the clover flowers are cut. The thing is once the grass is cut shorter weed seeds already in the soil is no longer shaded by the thick turf. It also allows for more weed seeds to blow in and become established. The shorter grass exposes the soil to more sun and wind which causes evaporation of moisture from the soil. All in all, cutting a grass too low (even in the fall) can cause devastating consequences on irrigated turf grass areas.
Another common misconception in lawn mowing is that mulching grass clippings is bad. Mulching of grass clippings is a huge benefit to your lawn. Mulching the lawn mowing clippings ensures the nutrients applied previously to the grass is returned along the organic matter (increases water holding capacity). It is important to remember to spread out the clippings, using a blower or rake, to prevent disease from large clumps of grass clippings. Remember if there have been any weed killers applied to your lawn,, you should not use the clippings for mulch in your personal garden.
All these factors along with proper fertilization, watering and core aeration contribute in synergy to the health of your lawn. Consult our staff if you would like a reliable lawn service to give you a free quote on turf maintenance contract for your lawn. We also provide commercial landscape maintenance for apartments, town homes, businesses, shopping centers, and office parks.
***Always ask your weekly lawn mowing service how often they sharpen their lawn mowing blades. They should have sharp blades used daily on mowers which have been pressure washed & cleaned. ***