Here at EcoTurf we want to highlight the cooperative relationship we have with our customers which is necessary to have a healthy lawn. While we are in charge of the fertilization and weed control, there are cultural practices affecting the health of the lawn outside our control. We want to educate in order to work better together with the goal of having the greenest healthiest sustainable lawns possible for our customers!
The top cultural practices that affect turf health are mowing, irrigation and fertilization.
Cutting your grass improperly can diminish turf health in several ways. Did you know mowing your grass too short can cause you to use 20% more water? Remember the 1/3 Rule: Never remove more than one-third of the grass blades when mowing. If mowed too short it is called wounding the grass blades and can weaken it because you have removed too much of the blades. It is a better cultural practice to mow more frequently rather than “scalping” the lawn. Cutting it too short can cause the grass to look lighter green because it is cut so short it hasn’t had enough photosynthesis. Do not mow your lawn when wet, best to wait until drier and bag it if it is too long and leaves clumps. When you are tempted to mow your lawn shorter than 1/3 of the grass blades, remember this is your lawn and not a putting green on a golf course. A putting green is a completely different grass and requires weekly inputs to maintain and mowing often daily! Mowing your grass too short can also make it more susceptible to fungus and lawn diseases so raise that lawn mower and your grass will thank you!
This picture shows a lawn cut too short. If you mow too short this is called wounding the grass. Jordan likes to say – tall is happy and short is crappy!
Which Lawn Do You Want?
Lawn on the left was just butchered. It is so short!! Maybe an inch tall – ouch is all I can say. When you cut it so short you remove all the color because you are taking most of the grass blade off. Both pictures taken same day. We had a lot of rain and people want to mow it short so they don’t have mow for a while. When you take more than 1/3 off the blade you are doing damage. Your lawn is more susceptible to weeds, disease and insects. The lawn on the right is mowed at highest height consistently and the blades are sharp which gives a nice clean cut.
Important Tip: Did you know that dull mower blades can cause the grass blades to tear which needs more water to recover! Keeps those mower blades sharp to help water less!
Thatch buildup is another symptom of improper cultural practices. Consistent mowing at highest height, altering mowing directions over the course of the season and watering deeply and infrequently are all good cultural practices that help fight thatch buildup. When the thatch layer is too thick the roots do not have access to important nutrients and water.