Ask any homeowner what the least favorite part of maintaining a lawn is, and most would answer mowing. Lawn mowing is one of those necessary evils. A weekly chore for which we can find all kinds of excuses not to do. And yet proper lawn mowing is one of the most important factors in maintaining a healthy lawn.
Scalping the lawn
Mowing height and frequency are vitally important for a problem free turf. It is widely assumed that cutting the grass short will cause it to grow slower. Cutting it too short will restrict its ability to absorb sunshine. This will only cause it to grow even faster until it produces a blade long enough to absorb the sunshine necessary to store energy and remain healthy.
Cutting the grass too short will keep it in a perpetual state of stress. This will limit its ability to fight off invaders, like weeds. Weed seeds can survive for long periods of time, just waiting for the chance to spring to life when conditions are right. A Well maintained thick and dense turf will crowd out and limit the weed invasion.
If you prefer to leave the clippings on your lawn, mulching mowers chop the clippings into small pieces that quickly disappear. The key to getting clippings to break down, even with the mulching mowers, is to mow often enough that clippings don't build up on the surface.
Waiting too long between mowing can cause the grass to grow too long. If the grass blade becomes too long it will cease to support its own weight and begin to fall over. This will cause the underlying grass to become smothered and even die. The grass will begin to thin out and be more susceptible to disease.
The right height
Subsequent mowing should be done whenever the grass clippings measure 1/2" or 25% of the above ground grass plant. Never cut off more than one third of the plant height (approximately 3/4") at any one mowing. Removal of too much of the plant may result in shock, unsightly appearance, or susceptibility to disease.
Understanding how your grass grows is the first step in making the right cut. A good mowing routine is very important to the overall appearance and health of the lawn. Keep your law healthy and beautiful, make the right cut.