Mowing Tips for your West Michigan lawn.
AAA Lawn Care’s services such as fertilizer and weed control are just one aspect of a healthy, well-maintained lawn. Mowing at the right height and frequency is one of the key things you can do to help keep your lawn healthy and take the benefits of your lawn care program even further. Mowing correctly means better growth, thickness, and durability. On the flip side, mowing too long or two short as well as too frequently or infrequently can lead to stunted growth, more weeds, and a greater susceptibility to lawn diseases.
Most of our lawns in Michigan contain some sort of blend of Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass (sometimes fescues, as well). For these grass blends, you typically want to keep your mowing somewhere between 2 ½” and 4”. Most importantly, you’ll want to follow the “One-Third Rule”, which dictates you should not take off more than 1/3rd of the grass blade in one mowing. For example, if your grass is about three inches long, be sure not to cut off more than one inch. Essentially, mowing damages grass blades and, if you take off too much, you are amplifying that damage done to the plant. This rule becomes even more important when your lawn is under stress (such as hot weather, drought, or disease).
There is a direct correlation between the height of the grass blades and the depth of the roots. So, if you have your grass too short, the roots are not as deep and will need more frequent waterings. They will also have a harder time fighting off disease. If you like to keep your grass short, make sure you mow more frequently to avoid taking off too much at one time. The most serious risk of shorter mowings is “scalping” your lawn, or cutting it too short to the crown, which is responsible for the plant’s growth. However, mowing more frequently encourages more dense growth and less weeds in your lawn.
Allowing the grass to grow way too long will cause it to thin out and lower its ability to compete with weeds. With that said, it is easier to follow the one-third rule with longer grass and also means more time between mowings. The benefits of keep your grass on the longer side also include better pest tolerance, better photosynthesis, and lower water requirements. Taller grass retains more moisture and shades soil more, decreasing the ability of weeds to grow well. In short, if you are in doubt about how long to mow, keep it on the taller side.
What about frequency? During peak mowing season, it’s a good idea to mow about twice a week. With more rain, you’ll want to mow more frequently (maybe even every couple of days). During drier spells, you’ll want to mow less often (every ten days to two weeks) if your lawn is not irrigated. Your goal is to find the balance between good lawn appearance and good root growth. However, if you’re not sure if your mowing frequently enough or at the right height, please do not hesitate to let us know and your lawn technician will be happy to take a look!