Lawn Mowing Height

Mowing is one of the most important cultural practices performed in lawn maintenance. Regardless of whether the lawn is fertilized, irrigated , in sun or shade, proper mowing practices are essential if a high quality lawn is to develop. Properly mowed lawns will have fewer weed populations, better moisture stress tolerance and generally better quality than lawns not properly mowed.

Research has shown the proper mowing height for cool season grass is between 3 and 3.5 inches. Mowing below 3 inches drastically reduces the quality of turf.

Advantages of higher mowing height:

Better Lawn Color

We see a much thicker, greener, healthier turf with lawns that are mowed at heights of 3 inches or above.  Here is a picture of 2 lawns that are maintained in a similar way. The major difference in these lawns is the mowing height. The lawn on the right is mowed below 3 inches:

Less Weeds & Crabgrass

Mowing height can play an important role in prevention of lawn weed establishment. Research has shown that higher mowing heights result in fewer weeds per unit area. This is due to higher grass providing more shading and competition to the weed seedlings during the initial establishment phases.

Less Mowing Maintenance

A general rule of thumb is not to remove more than one-third of the grass blade when mowing your lawn. The chart on the right provides different mowing heights and estimated mowing frequency.

Stronger Root System

A direct relationship exists between the height of the turfgrass and the depth and total mass of the root system.  Research with Kentucky bluegrass has shown that root growth was more than twice as great when the grass was mowed 1 inch higher.  In general, a lawn mowed too short will have shallow root system with little total root mass. The impact of shallow, weak root systems is most apparent during summer stress periods.
Some information provided by: William E. Pound & John R Street, Ohio State University, Horticulture & Crop Sciences

Seeding Your Lawn

Successful lawn establishment means doing the right thing at the right time.  New seed fails because of timing, poor quality seed, improper seed selection, poor soil conditions, improper site preparation, or improper water and fertilizing.

Timing is Everything

The best time of the year to seed is from August 15 to September 15.  The warm days and cool night are ideal for seed germination.  Spring is the second best time to seed, but could result in crabgrass and excessive weeds.

Seed Selection

Most retailers offer grass seed that is clearly marked as “sunny” or “shady” mixes.  Shady mixes have mostly fescue and rye grass which are better for low light areas.  For a sunny mix, look for one with at least 70% Kentucky Bluegrass.

Site Preparation

Lawn-tools-Image

In order to grow grass from seed, the grass seed needs to be touching bare, loose dirt.  Most seeding fails because the seed is not in contact with the soil.  This may require raking with a firm rake and/or spreading some fresh topsoil.

Mulch

If using straw, spread one to two bales of straw per 1000 square feet.  Spread it so that 1/3 to 1/2 of the soil is visible.  If seeding in the fall, the straw should be left on over the winter.  If you do not use straw or mulch, rake in the seed lightly: the teeth of your rake should just lightly touch the soil.  Too much pressure will cover the seeds too deep.  Cover the seed so that 10 percent of them are still visible.

 

Watering

SprinklerSprinkle frequently enough to keep the soil moist, but also avoid puddling.  This will require watering several times a day for the first couple of weeks.

Mowing

Mow as soon as the grass blades exceed 3 inches in height.  Keep traffic off the new lawn until the new turf has filled in enough that you cannot see the soil.  Expect some weeds to come up along with your new grass.

Fertilizer and Weed Control

Let us know about any seeding in your lawn and we will make the necessary adjustments to your program for optimal growth.

Watering Guidelines

If you want to keep your lawn healthy and green, then water- ing is important. Warm temperatures will rapidly dry out the soil of a lawn.

Here are a few watering tips you may find helpful:

– Use water or sprinkle 1 inch of water per week, and even more when it is hot.

– If you have an irrigation system, set it to run in the early morning and make sure it is finished by 8:00am.

– If you don’t have an irrigation system, water anytime. Try to avoid watering when evaporation will occur due to of wind or sunshine. Watering during these times won’t harm your lawn, but is just less efficient.

– If you are unable to water, mow your lawn as high as possible and only when it needs it. Keeping your grass longer will help prevent the lawn from drying out.

– Try to begin watering your lawn before it turns brown and becomes dormant.

– If you mow your lawn shorter than 3 inches, then your lawn can dry out quickly. Mowing too short causes increased stress to your turf and encourages diseases, weeds, and crab- grass. Your lawn should be mowed between 3 and 3.5 inches. During the summer months, move toward the higher mowing heights, as this will help your lawn retain more moisture.

Every lawn is different. There are many factors to consider when deciding how much to water: How hot is it? Is the lawn shady or sunny? Is the soil type clay or sand? Is the humidity high or low?

With trial and error, we’re confident you can determine when and how much to water your lawn.