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Here are some important tips to consider when mowing your lawn.
Nashville, Ark. – During the spring and summer months, the average American spends
2 hours per week on lawn and garden care. While mowing is the most time-consuming
lawn maintenance practice, it is not without its merits. The primary purpose of mowing
a lawn is to improve its appearance. Proper mowing technique, equipment, frequency
and height of cut will improve the quality of a lawn while also increasing the health
of the turfgrass plants and decreasing weeds.
Mowing is a destructive practice because it reduces the amount of leaf tissue available
for the production of energy. The general response to mowing is for the plant to produce
more leaf tissue to replace what is lost. If too much leaf tissue is removed in any
one mowing, plants will respond by redirecting energy away from valuable roots to
producing new leaves. Additionally, turfgrass cannot efficiently capture nutrients
and produce energy when mown too low. Therefore, proper mowing is a key ingredient
to a successful, healthy lawn. Mow as often as needed but never remove more than one-third
of the leaf blade in a single mowing. In other words, if your mower is set at 3 inches,
mow before your lawn reaches 4.5 inches high. mowing frequency will vary greatly based
upon the turfgrass species, time of year and rainfall, but a typical frequency is
one to two times per week during the growing season. Be sure to time your mowing properly
with any intended herbicide applications. Mowing too soon before or after a herbicide
application can increase turfgrass sensitivity or reduce weed control.
Sharply-cut leaf blades increase turf health by improving recovery, decreasing water
loss and increasing photosynthesis. Lawns mown with a dull mower blade have poor aesthetics,
heal more slowly and have greater water loss. Sharpen mower blades at least twice
a year. Replacement blades are expensive, so it may be useful to keep a second blade
sharpened and available to switch out as the first blade becomes dull. Both blades
can then be sharpened after the turfgrass has gone dormant.
In general, mowing turf at higher mowing heights helps increase overall plant health
and reduce weed pressure. Tall fescue and St. Augustinegrass perform best at mowing
heights of approximately 3.0 inches. Bermudagrass and zoysiagrass perform well at
lower mowing heights. They can be mown at a height of 1.0 to 2.0 inches with a rotary
mower or 0.5 to 1.0 inches with a reel mower. Within species, some cultivars tolerate
lower mowing more than others. In general, finer-bladed cultivars and species tolerate
lower mowing heights. Higher mowing heights may help turfgrasses in shady or partially
shaded areas of your lawn.
One thing to be careful not to do is to scalp your lawn. Scalping occurs when more
than one-third of the leaf blade is removed and the stem is left remaining. Scalping
not only decreases the aesthetic appearance of the lawn but also decreases the health
of the plant. Mow frequently at higher mowing heights to avoid scalping. A reel mower
will reduce the likelihood of scalping if lower mowing heights are preferred. Additionally,
you can alternate the mowing pattern each time you mow to prevent grain and reduce
the risk of scalping. Some species like bermudagrass are more prone to scalping than
zoysiagrass or tall fescue.
For more information, you can visit www.uaex.uada.edu, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Howard County Extension office is still working and is there for all the residents
in Howard County during this time.
By Samantha Kroll County Extension Agent - AgricultureThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Samantha Kroll County Extension Agent - Agriculture U of A Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service 421 N. Main Nashville AR 71852 (870) 845-7517 email@example.com
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative
action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need
materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other
appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension
and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity,
sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran
status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative
Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.