Proper Mowing Techniques
Who knew how you mow is important to your lawn health? Different varieties of grass have different mow requirements, and if you follow those, it will allow your lawn to flourish.
Mowing increases the density of your lawn, which will reduce the chance of weed growth. Cutting height and frequency will have a large impact on your lawn health, both of which are determined based on the variety of sod you have. As you will see in our chart below, growth height often coincides with the leaf blade – more narrow blades can tolerate a shorter mow height.
It is a common belief that you should not leave any grass clippings throughout your yard; however, the clippings have been found to be beneficial to the health of your lawn. If you leave grass clippings where they fall, they will break down over time which will add nutrients to your yard, thus reducing the need for fertilizer. This process is only beneficial if and when mowing is done so frequently. If mowing is infrequent, too many grass clippings will cause a buildup of thatch (dead and decomposing organic matter on top of the soil, but below the leaf blades which can cause problems including poor water infiltration, increased insect and disease infestation, and poor overall lawn health).
Some sod varieties will require a different type of mower. The two most popular types of lawn mowers are reel and rotary mowers. Rotary mowers are often the most popular for home maintenance, as they are more cost-efficient, easy to use, and have easy at-home maintenance. With a rotary mower, the blade is turned horizontally by a motor, which cuts the grass blade on impact. Most rotary mowers cannot mow shorter than 1” and are best used for higher mowing heights. Due to the impact of the blades, rotary blades often require sharpening more frequently.
Contrarily, reel mowers cut with a scissor-like motion which produces a clean, even cut. Reel mowers are best when used to mow shorter than 2”. With a reel mower, you will likely need to have it serviced by a professional in order to have the blades sharpened regularly for optimal results.
|Saint Augustine||2.5-4” *||5-14 days||Rotary Mower|
|Bahia||3-4”||7-17 days||Rotary Mower|
|Bermuda||0.5-1.5”||3-5 days||Reel Mower|
|Zoysia||1-3”||10-14 days||Reel Mower|
*Seville Saint Augustine should be mowed less than 3”, others 3-4”
Mow frequency is determined based on your irrigation and natural rainfall, but can fluctuate based on time of year (i.e. spring/summer will have more rainfall and warmer temps, allowing grass to grow taller more quickly).
Additional Mowing Tips:
• Mow when the grass is dry
• Keep the mower blades sharp
• Never remove more than 1/3 of the total blade height
• Mow in a different direction every time the lawn is cut, which will reduce the risk of wear pattern and the possibility of scalping
• Wash mower after each use to reduce the spread of weed seeds
*Some of the above information was sourced from University of Florida IFAS, and may be subject to variations based on your unique circumstances