along with watering is one of the two most important cultural practices
the homeowner can do to promote a healthy lawn.
agree that a mowing height of 2 ½ to 3 inches is ideal for
grasses used throughout Alberta. However, many homeowners are tempted
to cut a lower height to reduce the need for cutting throughout the
growing season. This practice has a detrimental effect on the grass
plant. The leaf blade on a grass plant is where it produces its food to
sustain itself. By removing most of the leaf blade, you limit food
production, which in turn decreases stolon, root and rhizome growth. By
cutting too short you also remove most of the greenness from your lawn,
which then gives the lawn a brownish look no matter how much you
fertilize or water.
mowing the lawn you should never remove more than 1/3 of the leaf
blade. Example, if your lawn is 3 inches tall, don't remove more than
one inch. The number of cuttings per week will change throughout the
year as climatic conditions change. Generally you will mow more
frequently in the spring and gradually lessen as you progress into
summer and fall.
sharp mower blade is very important to keeping your lawn in tiptop
shape. A dull mower blade will rip or tear the tips of the grass
leaving a shredded look. During the warm summer months this will cause
a condition known as "tip burn" causing the tip of the blade to die
back about ¼ to ½ of an inch. The condition is
only temporary and will disappear within 1 to 2 cuts with a sharp
blade. The shredded tip also gives disease and insects an excellent
route of entry into the blade.
clippings are an excellent way to return valuable nutrients to your
lawn and garden. By mulching, your grass clippings will be small in
size and decompose quickly. Rumors that mulching grass clippings lead
to a build up of thatch are not true. Research will tell you grass
clippings are mostly water, and valuable nutrients, such as nitrogen,
are returned to the soil. If however the clippings are too long,
leaving them on your lawn you will inhibit growth underneath. In this
case bagging or raking is recommended.
set schedule for mowing is recommended for a healthy lawn. However on
occasion, the mowing gets delayed due to weather or vacation, and the
grass grows too long. If the grass were to be cut at it's regular
height, too much of the leaf blade would be removed. This process is
commonly referred to as "scalping". Scalping causes the plant to go
into a state of shock and either slows or stops growth completely. This
can cause the lawn to weaken, which in turn opens the door for weeds,
insects, and disease. If this happens to you, cut your lawn twice by
first raising the lawn mower blade, so no more than 1/3 of the length
of the blade of grass is removed. Then a couple of days later, cut
again at your regular height. Good mowing practices promote a dense
turf, which is your best defense against weeds, insects, and disease.