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An Essential Guide to Mowing Your Lawn

Every lawn is different. This is why; mowing can be really tricky sometimes. Simply trimming or mowing you lawn to keep it from a state of overgrowth will not do the trick. There are a lot of factors to consider before self mowing your lawn. So, hold your horses and read on to find out how to mow your lawn correctly.

Mowing according to Grass Type

Your grass type is the most important factor to consider before mowing your lawn. Each type has different kinds of needs to thrive, so it’s important to understand them before cutting away. Grass is classified into two further divisions: Warm Season grass and Cool Season grass.

Warm Season Grass

Bermuda (Common and Hybrid)

During spring, Bermuda grass starts to grow rapidly. Before its growing season arrives, mow the grass shorter than usual; but, make sure to mow regularly during spring because Bermuda has a rapid growth rate and tends to be invasive if not maintained properly.

During other seasons, you can mow at least once a week. Remember to not clip more than 1/3 of the leaf blades. You can also leave the grass clippings to provide more nutrients for the soil to absorb.

The common Bermuda should be mowed at heights of 1 ½ to 2 ½ inches.  On the other hand, hybrid Bermuda is best mowed at heights of ½ to 1 ½ inches.

Centipede

Centipede grass requires less maintenance than other types of grass. The perfect mowing height for this type of grass is 1 ½ to 2 inches. Lastly, avoid low mowing at any cost for Centipede grass can get stressed out.

St. Augustine

The growth rate of St. Augustine grass depends on two factors: temperature and nutrient availability. Even during spring, its growth rate is fairly slow, so mowing is best done once every two weeks. But as temperature increases, its growth rate rapidly increases as well; this usually happens during late spring and all throughout summer.  Around this time, it is recommended that you mow at least once a week or every 5 days if nitrogen fertilizer is applied. The perfect mowing height for Augustine grass ranges from 2 ½ to 3 ½ inches.

Zoysia

A lawn with Zoysia does not need frequent mowing. This type of grass grows considerably slow compared to others. It does, however, require to be mowed to a height of 1 ½ to 2 inches for it to thrive.

 

Cool Season Grass

Fescue (Tall and Fine)

Mowing maintenance for Fescues varies on temperature. Normally, Fescues should be mowed at a height of 3 to 3 ½ inches. But for warmer areas, do not mow under 1 ½ inches to keep the sod from drying out and losing moisture. Mowing too low may not stress Fescues out but it will lead to the grass thinning out.

Rye Grass

Rye grass usually enters dormancy during summer season, so it’s best to set your mowing height between 2 ½ to 3 inches around this time. This is to prevent your lawn from dying out. But during spring and fall, mowing height is recommended to be between 2 to 2 ½ inches.

Kentucky Blue Grass

Kentucky Blue Grass should be mowed at the height of 2 ½ to 3 inches during spring and fall. However, it will need a mowing height of 3 to 3 ½ inches during summer. A higher mowing height during hot days can help it cool down and provide more foliage for photosynthesis.

 

Mowing Tips and Advice

Lawns differ in growth rate and maintenance, but there are still general tips that we can use or follow to achieve a green lush all year long.

The 1/3 Mowing Rule

For many years, this has been a rule of thumb for gardeners and normal people alike. No matter the grass type or mowing height that you are required to stick with, it’s advisable not to cut more than 1/3 of the leaf blade’s length in one mowing.

For example, maintaining a lawn at 3 inches would mean that it will need mowing when it reaches a height of 4 ½ inches.

Mind the Length

In all honesty, surfing the net for answers when to exactly mow your lawn or how frequent should you mow your lawn doesn’t help. No one can tell you when to mow it exactly. You can merely get estimations. That is because mowing depends on the growth of your grass and the grass type. If you always mow your lawn to keep the grass really short with complete disregard to the proper mowing height for your grass type, it can cause your lawn to die out and look unpleasant. The same goes for not mowing routinely. So remember, it’s all about the length!

Lawn Maintenance and Care

Lawn growth rate depends on two factors: Grass type and maintenance. Generally, lawns that are well taken care of can have a faster growth rate compared to other lawns. In that case, a lawn like that would require more frequent mowing in order to properly maintain it. This doesn’t mean, however, that you shouldn’t use fertilizers and other nutrient-building elements on your grass to mow less. Poorly-maintained lawns will cause the grass to yellow or die out.

Benefits of Mowing your Lawn

  1. Trimming your grass leads to healthier roots. This, in return, will mean a greener and healthier lawn.
  2. Mowing your lawn promotes growth in grass. It provides even distribution of sunlight and nutrients all throughout your lawn.
  3. It reduces the risk of infestation from garden pests and rodents that is usually prevalent in overgrown lawns.

Pro Tip: Mow your lawn during mid-morning. This is the perfect time for mowing because dew will have dried out and heat from the sun is not as intense.

Note: Leave grass clippings on your lawn. Mulching is a good idea as well. The decomposing grass clippings can serve as an organic fertilizer for your grass. However, do not let your glass clippings accumulate. A good advice to follow for this is “Mulch twice, bag once.”

Frequently Ask Questions about Lawn Care

Q: What is mulching?

A: Mulching is a mowing process wherein grass clippings are shredded into tinier pieces, then gets deposited back to the soil to serve as fertilizer.

Q: Why is it important to take note of my lawn’s mowing height?

A: The mowing height of your lawn serves as your guide on how often you have to mow; it also helps you determine how much should you trim when you mow. Cutting your grass too short can stress your grass out because it will not have enough foliage to photosynthesize. On the other hand, not cutting enough can cause problems like mosses and thatches.

Q: Why shouldn’t I mow the lawn when it’s wet?

A: Mowing a wet lawn should be avoided because of the following reasons:

  • Chlorophyll from grass can stain when wet.
  • Mowing a wet lawn should be highly avoided if you have an electric corded lawn mower for electrical safety reasons.
  • When grass is wet, its blades tend to become limp; this is not an ideal condition to mow for it may cause uneven cutting on your lawn.
  • Wet grass clippings usually clump together. This may result to a clogged lawn mower and a patchy lawn.

Q: When is the best time of the day to mow the lawn?

A: The best time in a day to mow the lawn is in mid-morning or late afternoon. Mowing in mid-morning allows dew from your grass to dry up, and the heat is not as intense compared to other parts of the day. But if you live in a country or place wherein mid-morning is still practically cool hindering dew from drying up, you can try your luck during late afternoons.

You may also enjoy reading Everything You Need to Know Before Buying a Riding Lawn Mower or Life Expectancy of a Lawn Mower

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