Lawn Mowing Tips
Proper mowing is essential to a beautiful lawn, and contrary to popular belief, leaving your clippings on the lawn are actually healthy for it. Clippings will return nutrients to the lawn. They do not add to thatch levels, so it is best to let your clippings filter down.
The Hidden Nutrients in Grass Clippings
Grass clippings are 75 to 80% water and contain up to 25% of the fertilizer applied to lawns. Clippings quickly break down, returning moisture and nutrients to the soil. It only makes sense to allow the clippings to recycle into the lawn, where they can decompose. Those returning nutrients build greener and healthier lawns.
Understanding Thatch Levels
Thatch is a layer of dead vegetation that builds up on lawns at the surface of the soil. While a small amount of thatch is healthy for your lawn, an excess of thatch can be problematic. But thatch is primarily made up of roots and stems. Most people don’t realize that grass clippings do not add to thatch levels, as clippings decompose very quickly. Bagging and removing your grass clippings will not reduce your thatch level. For controlling thatch levels, see: aerating lawns.
The Right Height for Your Lawn
The length of your lawn is determined from the top of the thatch level to the top of the grass blade, and maintaining a taller blade length will help keep your lawn and root system healthy. Taller lawns reduce evaporation and help prevent weeds by shading your soil. Your lawn will stay greener when it’s kept at the right height. That exact height will vary by grass type, but you should never remove more than 1/3 of the leaf blade. For more information, ask your local K-Lawn lawn care specialist about the right height for your lawn.
The food producing part of your lawn is in the grass blade, and if you set your mower blade too low… you run the risk of damaging the plant. Scalping of this nature will cause your lawn to turn brown, restricts root growth and may run the risk of weed & disease problems.
How Often Should Your Lawn Be Mowed?
After determining the right height of your lawn, you’ll need to adjust your mowing frequency to maintain that height. Lawn growth is effected by a variety of conditions, such as the season, grass type, irrigation frequency and the temperature. If possible, adapt your mowing schedule to your lawn’s needs. During early spring and mid summer growing periods, you may need to mow more than once a week.
Using & Maintaining Your Lawn Mower
There are a number of good mowers on the market. It is preferable to use a mulching mower, so that clippings can be left on the lawn. Whatever mower you use, it is most important to keep your mower blade sharp. A dull, rough blade will damage the plant leaf and cause browning in lawns. Have your blade sharpened several times a year. Adjusting your mower deck height throughout the summer is equally as important. Remember, as temperatures rise, so should your mowing height. Early spring mowing can be lower to ‘clean up’ from the previous winter, but avoid scalping. Late fall mowing heights can be lowered as temperatures cool.
Points to Remember About Lawn Mowing:
- Grass clippings left on the lawn are good for it, returning moisture and nutrients to your lawn
- As temperatures rise, so should your mowing height.
- Determine the right height for your lawn, removing only 1/3 of the leaf blade.
- Mow your lawn as often as needed to maintain its determined height.
- Use a mulcher with sharp mower blades to keep your lawn healthy