If you want to grow the lushest, greenest grass in the neighborhood, you must adopt several care techniques. Proper irrigation and fertilizing, for example, are essential for a well-kept lawn. Proper mowing techniques, including maintaining and cutting at proper heights, are too.
Rotary mowers are the most common mowers used and cut the grass with blades that spin horizontally across the grass. Rotary mowers rarely give a good cut when cutting the grass less than 1 inch, but it is easy to adjust the cutting height as necessary. Reel mowers, on the other hand, have blades that spin vertically and cut grass more like a pair of scissors would. It damages grass less than rotary mowers and provides a more uniform cut than rotary mowers, but adjusting the cutting height is difficult.
Proper Cutting Height
Different grasses fare better when cut to different heights. For example, warm-season grasses such as Bermuda, zoysia and centipede grass are usually best cut short, approximately 1 to 2 inches, depending on the variety. St. Augustine grass should be cut higher, between 2 1/2 and 4 inches. Cool-season grasses, such as tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass, are usually best cut higher, approximately 2 to 3 inches. In the fall, make the last cut about an inch shorter though.
No matter what the cutting height, don’t mow off more than one-third of the grass’s height at any one time. For example, a grass that is best cut to 2 inches should be mowed when or before it reaches 3 inches. This means regular, more frequent mowings are a must when properly caring for a lawn.
Other Lawn Care Tips
Grass clippings are generally small enough when you mow your grass frequently that you do not need to rake them up. They will decompose and add nutrients, including nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, common ingredients in fertilizers, back to your soil. Also, mow your grass when it’s dry; wet grass is difficult to mow. Change the direction of your mowing every one or two mowings. This will prevent the grass from being pushed down in any one direction. Also, have your mower blades sharpened in the spring and as needed during the growing season. Sharp blades make a clean cut, which is better for your lawn.