Mowing practices and techniques can do a lot to improve the appearance of your lawn. There are a few simple things you can do to give your lawn that lush golf course appearance.
- Use a sharp mower blade. A sharp blade gives a sharp even cut. A dull blade shreds the leaf tips which then turn light brown and give the lawn a tan hazy color. Shredded leaves also lose more water so the lawn dries out faster in the summer.
- Clean the underside of the mowing deck. This insures that the blades will be able to move freely and with enough clearance for air circulation and movement of clippings.
- Remove only one third of the growth at a time. Cutting more than this is called scalping. The plants lose a large portion of their food production area in the leaves and the plants aren't able to make enough food for the large root system. This shocks the plants and puts them under stress. Plants then have to use their food nutrient reserves in the recovery process and have less available for uses such as drought recovery and fall growth and thickening. Continually mowing too short or removing too much growth at a time results in a thin unhealthy looking lawn that is prone to weeds and other problems.
- Mow in the morning or evenings when temperatures are cooler. This is easier for you and is less stressful for the grass and results in less water loss from the newly cut grass blade.
- Vary your mowing pattern. Mowing the opposite direction or at an angle from your previous mowing adds variety to the task and enhances the appearance of your lawn.
- Mow at the maximum height for your type of grass. This is generally 3 inches for bluegrasses, ryegrasses, and fescues and 1 1/2 inches for warm season grasses like Bermuda and zoysia. Taller grass develops a deeper root system and the grass shades the soil keeping it cooler which reduces the need for water.
- Let the clippings stay on the lawn. This returns extra nutrients to the soil and does not add to the thatch.
It's possible to make your mowing job go more quickly.
Some planning and adaptation in your landscape
can make the job much less time consuming.
- You can reshape landscape beds to eliminate tight angles that require backing the mower or an extra trip around. Mulching a generous area under trees will eliminate tight circles and trimming and will protect the tree from mower or trimmer wounds. Many times several trees can be combined in a mulch bed so that you won't have to mow around individual trees. Grass under fences and around posts can be killed and replaced with mulch to eliminate trimming.
- Slopes are difficult and dangerous to mow and these could be planted with ground cover or wild flowers.
- If you wish to mow less often, mow by length... not by the day of the week. (You will be mowing more in the spring, but much less often in the summer.) Keep the lawn as tall as possible. If you follow the rule of removing one-third of the growth with each mowing.. you can see that a 3 inch cut lawn can grow an inch and a half before it needs mowing..but to maintain a 2 inch cut you would have to mow after the lawn had grown only one inch. Assuming grass grows at a constant rate...you will have several extra days between mowing if you keep your lawn at the taller height. How about a lemonade while you're waiting?
- Leaving the clippings on the lawn will also save you time spent in bagging and is better for the lawn.
- Using some or all of these ideas will enable you to streamline your mowing task so there will be more time to enjoy your lawn.