When done right, mowing actually encourages your grass to grow, creating a dense lawn that resists weeds, drought, wear and disease. However, common mowing mistakes can actually cause significant damage to your lawn. Whether you pay a professional service or do it yourself, be sure to protect your grass from these detrimental practices.
Cutting your grass extremely short may seem like a time saver — more time before it gets too long again, right? And even some uninformed “professionals” are guilty of it, but scalping is one of the worst things you can do to your grass.
The grass blades need to be long enough to perform their magic trick, photosynthesis, turning sunlight into food. Also, the blades shade the soil, keeping the grass cooler, retaining needed moisture, and helping crowd out weeds.
2. Wrong Mower Height
Each grass variety — Bermuda, zoysia, etc. — has recommended range of mowing heights that help ensure healthy growth. Setting the mower below the range leads to the problems mentioned above, but setting it too high can cause issues as well.
Long grass can trap too much moisture, leading to rot, mold or disease. Also, long grass tends to be less dense, inviting pests and weeds to invade.
Never cut more than one-third of the grass blade length at a time. It’s the golden rule of mowing. Cutting more than that stifles new growth, shifting the energy into recovery of the shorn tips.
If your grass gets long, resume your normal mowing schedule, removing only one-third of the blade each time until it returns to recommended height.
4. Ignoring Conditions
Drought, excessive heat, wind, excessive rain, and other weather conditions can cause stress for your lawn. If you ignore these conditions and continue to mow as usual, you could damage your grass.
Just as you would adjust irrigation during these weather events, you should also adjust how often and how high you mow. Drought, heat and wind may call for less frequent mowing at higher settings, for example, while excessive rain may indicate a lower setting to allow the soil to dry out.
5. Using Dull Mower Blades
Dull mower blades rip the grass blades, leaving a raw, tattered edge rather than a clean slice. In addition to leaving a less pleasing appearance, the dull blades pull on the grass in the process causing stress to the plant. The jagged edges heal more slowly, as well, making the grass more susceptible to disease.