Last month we posted an article on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) as an environmentally friendly way to maintain a healthy lawn with minimal use of chemical controls. Two of the cornerstone principles of the IPM philosophy are proper lawn mowing and watering.
Mowing your lawn improperly is the single biggest detriment to having a healthy lawn, and a properly mowed lawn will help control many different types of problems. A common mistake a lot of homeowners make is mowing their lawn too short. This results in a lawn that will dry out quickly, not maintain good color, and develop a shallow root system that will leave your turf more susceptible to insect and disease problems.
How to Cut Your Grass
During the growing season we recommend cutting your grass at a high level, 2 1/2 to 3 inches. This will help the turf thicken up, stay green longer and help resist drought stress. Never remove more than 1/3 of the grass blade at any one time. We also advocate mulching or discharging your grass clippings. This benefits your lawn by returning as much as 30% of the nitrogen back to the root system. Collecting or bagging the clippings is only recommended if the grass is too wet or too long to properly mulch the clippings.
How to Water Your Lawn
As for watering, applying the right amount at the right time of the day is the key. We recommend one inch of water per week during the growing season and maybe more during periods of excessive heat and dryness. The best time to water your lawn is in the early morning hours, with anytime between 5 AM and 11AM being ideal. Watering at this time reduces loss of water due to evaporation and allows for the grass blades to air dry. Avoid excessive watering or watering during the nighttime hours, as these two bad practices can actually promote diseases in your lawn by keeping it too wet for too long. However, during the hot and dry months an additional light watering in the late afternoon can help your lawn by cooling it down.
We hope this article gives you some good tips on how to mow and water your lawn here in Mid-Michigan and the Tri-City area. Do you have more questions about effective lawn care? Leave us a comment below, and we’ll help you out.