For low maintenance, little compares to live grass. It only takes 30 minutes to mow the average home lawn. That’s really not much time to maintain a well cut lawn.
By following some basic guidelines mowing your lawn can be easy:
- Mow early in the morning or in the evening. Mowing during the heat of the day can cause the plant to go into shock.
- Mow when the grass is dry. Your mower will work better and there is less likelihood that disease will be spread from plant to plant.
- Change directions each time you mow. Mowing causes the grass to lie over slightly. When you alternate directions with each mowing, you will keep the grass straighter and stronger. You will also reduce soil compaction by changing the areas that the wheels of your mower travel.
- Follow the one-third rule. Select a mowing height appropriate for the grass in your lawn. Then set your mower blade height and mow frequently enough so you cut off no more than the top third of the grass plant. This will encourage stronger roots.
- Different grass varieties require different mowing heights. It’s important to know what type of turfgrass you have and then cut it according to recommendations for that species.
Recommended Mowing Heights
Kentucky Bluegrass 1.5 - 3 inches (38.1 – 76.2 mm)
Tall Fescue 2 - 3 inches (50.8 – 76.2 mm)
Perennial Ryegrass 1.5 - 3 inches (38.1 – 76.2 mm)
Fine Fescues 2 - 3 inches (50.8 – 76.2 mm)
Creeping Bentgrass 0.25 - 0.75 inches (6.35 – 19.05 mm)
St. Augustine grass 1.5 - 3 inches (38.1 – 76.2 mm)
Bermudagrass (common) 0.75 - 2 inches (19.05 – 50.8 mm)
Bermudagrass (hybrid) 0.5 - 1.5 inches (12.7 – 38.1 mm)
Zoysiagrass 0.75 - 2 inches (19.05 – 50.8 mm)
Centipedegrass 1 - 2 inches (25.4 – 50.8 mm)
Buffalograss 1 - 3 inches (25.4 – 76.2 mm)
Bahiagrass 2 - 4 inches (50.8 – 101.6 mm)
Kikuyugrass 0.5 - 1 inches (12.7 – 25.4 mm)
Paspalum (Seashore) 0.5 - 1.5 inches (12.7 – 38.1 mm)
It is best to maintain turfgrass at the top end of the height ranges recommended above. Leaving turfgrass longer has many benefits:
- Longer grass shades the soil, keeping it cooler which will reduce evaporation of water from the soil. This shade also reduces the opportunity for weed seeds to germinate.
- Cutting your lawn too short creates an environment for both weed and disease infestation. It also causes the lawn to lose moisture much faster.
- Root growth is often directly proportional to top growth. The longer the grass blades the deeper the roots, allowing grass to find water and nutrients at greater depths.
Mowing short is only beneficial late in the fall in those climates that see snow or temperatures below freezing for over 30 days. Mowing short the last mowing of the fall will reduce matting of the grass in the spring and decrease the chance of cool-season fungal diseases called snow molds.
Keep Lawn Mower Blades Sharp
The most important feature of any lawn mower is its blade, and yet it is often the most neglected part of the machine. If you keep your lawn mower blade sharp your lawn will benefit and so will you. A sharp mower blade provides a clean cut that minimizes numerous lawn problems such as disease and pests, it also makes mowing your lawn a lot easier. A good time to sharpen the blade is at the beginning of each growing season.
Leave Grass Clippings on the Lawn
Leaving grass clippings on the lawn is called grasscycling, recycling, or mulching. Clippings are full of nutrients and can actually reduce your need for fertilizers by as much as 50%. Grass clippings readily break down and only cause an issue if the quantity is excessive.
Mow Your Leaves for a Healthier Lawn
Far too often, raked leaves find their way into landfills. The best method to remove leaves is mowing them with a mulching mower and leaving them to feed the soil.
A Michigan State University study showed that when leaves were mulched into established turf the grass greened up quicker in the spring and also had fewer spring dandelions.