Many people who want a beautiful lawn do not realize just how important the job of mowing really is. There are five dimensions of mowing to be considered. (a) cutting height (b) mowing frequency (c) mowing pattern (d) mower operation and (e) disposal of clippings.
Cutting height of different varieties of grass is mentioned below. Lowering the cutting height can be disastrous. Removal of a large portion of the leaf results in reduced carbohydrate production, because the leaves are largely responsible for photosynthesis.
Mowing frequency has a general rule not to remove more than 1/3 of the leaf at one time. Time of year will vary depending on rate of leaf growth.
Mowing pattern is far less critical but should be considered. A side-by-side mowing pattern is acceptable if the 360° turns can be made on sidewalks or roadways. If the turf is thinning due to about face turns, try a circular cut. Mowing operations should be operated at the speed specified by the manufacturer. Rapid, spinning turns, can cause bruising and tearing of the turf.
Do not remove clippings. Short clippings decay quite rapidly and do not contribute to thatch formation. The only two situations when clippings should be removed: (a) When excessive clippings may smother the lawn. (b) When surface clippings give the lawn an objectionable appearance.
The two most common errors of mowing are: 1) Lawn isn’t mowed often enough and 2) Lawn is mowed too short. The proper heights are: Bluegrass (Common Kentucky) 2″ to 2 1/2″, Bluegrass (Improved Varieties) 1 1/2″ to 2″, Fescues – 2″ to 3″, Zoysia grass – 3/4″ to 1 1/2″, Bermuda grass – 3/4″ to 1 1/2″, Hybrid Bermuda grass – 1/2″ to 1″.
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