Mowing Advice for a Perfect Lawn

It might surprise you to learn that one of the most common culprits behind lawn problems in the Midwest isn’t insects, fungal diseases, or unpredictable weather – it’s your trusty lawn mower. Despite being perceived as a benign landscaping activity, mowing can result in significant lawn damage if not approached with the right knowledge and care.

While we do not provide mowing services, we believe that understanding the art of mowing is crucial for homeowners who tackle the task themselves or hire professionals. Mowing can be a valuable tool, but its success depends on various factors.

Early Spring: A Critical Mowing Opportunity

In the early spring, mowing can play a crucial role in your lawn’s recovery after winter dormancy. The key here is to start mowing before it seems like your lawn needs it. Trimming the tips of the grass blades serves as a controlled injury that prompts your lawn to respond by producing new shoots. This new growth helps to thicken the grass, especially when combined with a well-planned fertilization program and core aeration. It’s a holistic approach that can improve your turfgrass and significantly reduce the need for pesticides to combat weeds and diseases.

The One-Third Rule: Don’t Push Your Lawn Too Far

One of the fundamental rules of mowing is the “One-Third Rule.” It’s simple but effective: never remove more than one-third of the total leaf surface in one mowing session. For example, if your grass is maintained at three inches, don’t let it grow beyond four inches between mowings. Going against this rule can cause injury, leading to stress and root system damage.

So, if your lawn has gotten too tall, it’s better to gradually raise the mower, allowing your grass to recover over two or three mowings. This approach minimizes stress and helps maintain a healthy root system.

Timing Is Everything: Be Weather-Wise

Mowing isn’t just about the frequency; it’s also about timing. Avoid mowing when the grass is wet, as it can cause it to lay flat and become thinner. Mowing during extremely hot and dry conditions can lead to injuries that may trigger fungal diseases.

Keep a close eye on climate conditions. The early transition into hot and dry weather can stress your turfgrass, especially Kentucky Bluegrass. Proceed with caution during this critical period, and avoid mowing in the heat of the day to minimize the risk of weeds and fungal diseases that can linger throughout the summer.

The Right Height for Your Lawn

The ideal mowing height for Kentucky Bluegrass is around 3 inches, except during the summer months when it’s beneficial to keep your turfgrass slightly taller, around 3.5 to 4 inches. Adjust the height for the first mowing in spring to stimulate growth and clean up debris from winter. Sharpening your mower blades regularly and checking tire pressure or deck leveling can make a significant difference.

Mowing may seem like a straightforward task, but there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. At Tompkins Lawn Care, we hope this information empowers you to maintain your lawn with the knowledge and care it deserves. While we may not provide mowing services anymore, we’re always here to offer insights and assistance to help you achieve the beautiful, healthy lawn you desire.

Expand Your Lawn Care Knowledge

Expand Your Lawn Care Knowledge

  • How we got here…
  • Protect Our Pollinators
  • Fungal Lawn Diseases
  • Moles
  • Nourishing Your Lawn
  • Fertilizer 101
  • Core Aeration
  • Lawn Watering
  • Mowing

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