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Moving affects the overall quality of turfgrass. Mowing affects a turf's density, texture, color and uniformity. Even if you water and fertilize your lawn correctly, its overall quality is compromised if you don't mow it properly.
Mowing Heights and Frequencies
Different turfgrasses require different mowing heights:
* Hybrid Bermuda, 0.5-1.5 inches, three to four days.
* Centipede, 1 to 2 inches, five to ten days.
* Zoysia, 0.75 to 2 inches, three to seven days.
* Common Bermuda, 1 to 2 inches, five to seven days.
* Tall Fescue, 2 to 3 inches, five to seven days.
* St. Augustine, 2 to 3 inches, five to seven days.
Mowing heights and frequencies can change, of course, depending on fertilization and soil moisture. But mowing at the wrong height can harm the turf's rooting, which in turn affects how the shoots grow and take up water.
Benefits of Mowing
For a healthy lawn, use the correct mowing height.
Mowing carefully decreases disease and other problems.
A healthy turfgrass canopy can reduce the light penetrating to the soil, making it harder for weed seeds to germinate.
Improper mowing can make a lawn less tolerant of temperature extremes and traffic.
Don't Mow a Wet Grass
Mow the lawn with a sharp blade when the grass is dry. This spreads the clippings better and keeps down diseases. Mowing wet turf causes clumps of clipped grass to remain on the lawn, reducing sunlight on the leaf blades. The resulting chlorotic yellow spots are unattractive. Mowing wet soil compacts the soil and slows rooting.
Mulching vs Bagging
Leave the clippings; there are several advantages.
Clippings increase the soil organic matter, making it easier for water to move into the soil and increasing water and nutrient retention.
Returning clippings to the turf does not build up harmful thatch. Soil microbes efficiently break down the clippings creating organic matter. This decomposition process can reduce turf nitrogen needs by 25 percent.
Keep clippings out of storm water systems or surface waters. Clippings can clog systems and pollute water sources. If the clippings need to be bagged, try composting and using them as a soil conditioner or mulch.
Follow the "one-third" rule
Decide when to mow based on the "one-third" rule. Avoid removing more than one-third of the leaf tissue at any one mowing. For example, if zoysia should be cut to 2 inches, mow it when it is 3 inches tall. Removing more than that or cutting the turf too low can lead to a weak turf stand, decreased rooting and a host of other preventable problems.
Letting the grass overgrow the "one-third rule" hurts the turf. But mowing too often is harmful, too. Mowing too often can allow diseases to enter the leaf tips more easily. Other negatives include increased wear, soil compaction, labor expense and wear-and-tear on mowing equipment.