Lawn Care – Regular Mowing Through The Summer For Excellent Results January 6, 2019March 26, 2019 Daniel Rowland In climates typified by long, hot, dry summers, it is not possible to grow a beautiful lawn without an automatic irrigation system, designed, installed, and operated to professional standards. Neither is success likely if certain essential, seasonal tasks are not carried out, especially dethatching in the spring, and feeding at the onset of autumn as well as in spring. There remain therefore the “ordinary” tasks that need to be routinely performed during the grass’s primary growing season – the summer. The most essential job apart from watering, is mowing. A lush, green, healthy, and beautiful swathe cannot be attained without mowing that is both as regular as clockwork, and carried out at the correct height. Actually, the two go together, because infrequent, irregular mowing invariably entails that the lawn is cut at an inappropriate height. At what height then should the grass be cut? One sometimes comes across guidelines detailing specific heights for different varieties; 6cm for St. Augustine, or 4cm for Bermuda grass, as though anyone actually measures the leaves with a tape measure before mowing! A simpler approach is to hold fast to a few golden rules, and to understand that consistently removing excessive amounts of green leaf significantly reduces the energy level of the plants. Never remove more than about 40% of the height of the leaf at any particular mowing. It is important here to emphasize the word leaf, for the stem, to which the leaf is attached, should never be mowed. Therefore, the height of the lawnmower’s blade should be set high enough to avoid cutting the stems. The grass should appear as green after mowing as it was beforehand. This is a very simple, but effective rule of thumb. If the lawn’s color is paler following the mowing, it means that the blade has been set too low, the grass has been scalped, and the stems exposed. This has serious consequences for the health and vitality of the lawn in the long term, although the degree of damage inflicted varies according to the variety of grass. Following these two rules leads automatically to the question of how frequently the lawn should be cut, for the longer the interval between mowing, the larger amount of leaf will be removed, and the greater the likelihood that the lawnmower’s blade will sink and scalp the grass. The correct mowing frequency is therefore one that avoids that happening. In practice, the interval differs from species to species, and even between lawns of the same variety that grow under different conditions. Lawns that grow rapidly clearly have to be mowed more frequently than those that do not. So it may be necessary to mow every five days in certain circumstances, while a regime of once every 10 days may suffice in others. Remember that the greens on golf courses, the ultimate benchmark standard in turf management, are mowed at least once a day during the growing season.