I know many people want a good bluegrass lawn, but also know that most people do not want lawn care to dominate their life. Fortunately, good lawn care also means getting the lawn to do some of the work for you. A while ago I covered watering, today I figured I better talk about the rest!
Sugar Needs of Turfgrass
One of the most important factors we miss in lawn care is sugar. Sugar is the main product grass, or any plant, creates when the leaves are exposed to the sun. Sugar is the plant’s currency and its savings plan. When damage is done the plant sends sugar to help repair the damage. This also removes sugar from the savings. If too much sugar is taken, the plant gets weak and risks dying.
Mow Grass Taller
The biggest thing you can do to keep sugar levels high in grass is to have lots of leaves getting lots of sun. This is accomplished by mowing the grass taller. I know this is going to cause some folks grief because they are in love with their putting green turf, but all that low mowing puts a lot of stress on the grass and saps it of all its precious sugar.
Taller Grass, Greater Sugar Storage, Better Lawn Health
Mowing at three inches will give your grass enough green leaves to not just survive regular mowing, but to start storing up sugar for future problems. You can mow even higher and get a spectacular green healthy spread of grass, but you might find the resulting lawn hard to walk through and possibly prone to leaving marks from your foot steps for longer than most people want. Back when I was in school, Disney theme parks were said to mow at five inches to create a strong lush turf. Disney also designed their parks so that you could not easily walk on the beautiful lawn!
I mentioned above that mowing stresses short lawns, but I should point out that all mowing stresses lawns. And the greater percentage you take off the top the more the lawn gets shocked and the more the reserves get used up. Take no more than one third of the grass off on each mowing. If you feel you need to take more than that off you will need to wait another three days. Then you can mow again a bit lower. I have seen some homeowners, and a few professionals, think they are doing the grass a favor by only mowing it once every two weeks. While this may work while the grass is growing slowly in the heat of the summer, or during a drought, mowing infrequently while it is growing is a recipe for a sick lawn, and more lawn work.
The Benefits of Mulching
The last thing I would like to cover today is mulch mowing. Mulch mowing is cutting the lawn and leaving the clippings on the lawn. In the old days, that meant a windrow of grass clippings that had to be creatively raked to break the clump and keep it from blocking sun to the turf under it. This is not the case with many mid and high grade mowers now. Even the cheap mower that I inherited when I moved into my current house does a decent job of chopping the trimmings into unnoticeable bits. Those clippings will help reduce the nitrogen fertilizer you need to add because part of the nitrogen in the leaves you just cut off will be reused by the lawn. The clippings will also break down and add one of the best soil conditioners known to man – carbon.
Well, that gives you a lot to think about! If your current lawn needs a little filling in check out our regional grass blends. Remember, if you take good care of your lawn, you will have less need to reseed in the future and have more time to spend playing on your nice turf.