Written by Gene Caballero on September 29, 2014
There are many facets to a comprehensive turf care program,
These 4 parts of proper lawn care maintenance can do a great deal to improve the quality of your grass.
But.... drum roll!!!
Proper mowing practices are perhaps the most effective techniques that are easily within your control to promote healthy turf.
There are many varieties of turf, if you live in the Atlanta Georgia area, fescue and Bermuda turf will be predominant, and if you live in St. Petersburg Florida, then St Augustine turf will be predominant.
But, regardless of where you live the best mowing practices are largely the same.
Mowing it too short can create severe stress on the lawn, causing it to burn out, while creating an environment favorable for weeds to move in.
Cut it too tall, and the grass will look lain-over and unsightly.
Tall Fescue turf should be mowed at a height of 3.5” to 4” tall. Additionally, it’s crucial to mow the lawn as frequently as needed typically every 7-10 days.
And remember, it’s never healthy for the turf if you cut more than 1/3 of the grass height at a time.
Keep your lawn mower blade sharp; a good rule of thumb is to sharpen your blades every 3 months if your lawn is ½ acre or less in size.
Mowing with dull blades will rip the grass blades making them susceptible to disease and insect feeding.
Changing the pattern you take each time you mow is optimal.
Whether you are using a push mower or riding mower, the wheels can leave tracks; and when you take the same path each time you mow, you will wear in tracks into the lawn.
A simple solution is to alternate directions:
For grasses in most regions, bagging in the spring and fall is optimal.
This reduces thatch and leaves an overall neater appearance. This requires a bit more work. As bagging and clippings and disposal takes additional time. However, it will yield a better result.
During the summer months when tall fescue turf is not growing as vigorously, mulching and/or discharging the grass will be sufficient. But here's the deal, you may have to make additional passes to evenly distribute clippings for a neat appearance. Over-mulching of clippings while the Tall Fescue turf is growing strong in the spring and fall will be counter-productive. This will cause the thatch build up can choke out the healthy turf. And can also impede new seed germination in the fall.
If you are using a professional service. You will want to observe, and direct how they are mowing each week. Many services do not automatically perform best practices for mowing. And perhaps, make sure you confirm how often they are sharpening their blades.
Though Bermuda and Zoysia grass also grow in the upper southeast, however, are not as popular due to fact that they go dormant each year around mid-fall and remain unattractive and dormant until May. Cool season turfs such as Tall Fescue require more diligent care than warmer season turfs such as Bermuda and Zoysia. However, Tall Fescue, and similar turfs, have a lush green appearance more months out of the year. So the additional investment of care is worth it for many homeowners who love a thick beautiful lawn.
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