When determining how a lawn should be mowed, there are several factors that should be taken into consideration. Beauty, fungus prevention, moisture preservation, tillering or spreading, and proper trimming are the five most important considerations when mowing. The following are frequently asked questions and suggestions for proper techniques of lawn mowing. Each of these address one or more of the important considerations listed above.
How often should the lawn be mowed?
Generally speaking, most lawns should be mowed once each week. However, here is the real test. NEVER cut more than one-third of the height of the grass blade off at a time. If the grass height is three inches, do not cut more than one inch off of the blade. Violating this important rule will result in cutting not only the blade of the grass, but also some of the stem. The result will be turning the grass an ugly, yellowish-green color until the blade grows out again. In addition, this violation will put stress on the grass and make it susceptible to fungus disease attacking the lawn.
What should the cutting height of the mower be?
The answer to this question is determined by the type of grass being mowed, how flat is the lawn even if it has a slope (do not scalp) , and what type of mower is being used. To set this, simply set the mower on the driveway and measure from the blade to the driveway. Tip: check the relationship of the blade to the bottom of the mower deck. FESCUE - It is recommended the lawn be cut at 2 1/2 inches (3" max.) each mowing. BLUEGRASS - It is recommended the lawn be cut at 1 1/2 - 2 inches each mowing. ZOYSIA - It is recommended the lawn be cut at 1 inch unless a reel mower is used. Zoysia may be cut as low as 1/4 inch if a reel mower is used on a flat lawn.
What direction should the lawn be mowed?
Ideally, a lawn should be mowed at a different angle each mowing for four consecutive mowings. (a) Parallel to the street; (b) Perpendicular to the street; (c) Right diagonal to the street; (d) Left diagonal to the street. Realizing the shape of some lawns does not make this rule practical, always set a schedule of mowing at least two directions and more if possible.
Should the grass be mulched or bagged?
Organic Matter can be increased by leaving clippings on your lawn and mowing tree leaves back into your lawn in the fall instead of raking and collecting. However, it is important to note that a "mulching mower" must be used for this process. If there is a lot of grass or leaves it may be necessary to mow the lawn two or three times in order to get the material cut into small pieces and scattered over the lawn. Failure to mulch the grass or leaves completely will result in solid masses of grass or leaves left on the top of the lawn, resulting in the grass dying under the mass. It is also important to note that a mulch layer exceeding one-half inch will severely increase the opportunity for fungus growth under hot and humid conditions. As a result, Central MO Turf Management does not recommend this approach. At Central MO Turf Management, we recommend the cut grass be bagged and hauled away.
What about the mower blade?
ALWAYS CUT THE LAWN WITH A SHARP BLADE! If the blade is not sharp it will tear the grass blades instead of cutting them. This is easy to recognize since it results in the tips of the grass turning yellow or brown from tearing. It also becomes a good place for fungus to start since the grass blade has been hurt. Sharpen the blade!!!
How should a lawn be trimmed?
NEVER turn the lawn trimmer so the cutting edge is making contact with the soil. The result will break the barrier set up by the pre-emerge chemicals previously applied to the lawn. Crabgrass and broadleaf weeds will start to appear in those areas if this barrier is broken.
A homeowner can spend considerable money on proper fertilization, weed control, insect control, and fungus control in addition to the original cost of the lawn, but if the lawn is not mowed properly the lawn will still not look like the picture they hoped for. For this reason, Central MO Turf Management hopes the guidelines set out above will be of benefit to your mowing program.