It’s MOWING Time!
Winter has gone, temperatures have risen, and so has your grass! We know you are ready to dust off those gloves and get back to working on your yard, so we want to caution you to maintain proper care for your lawn.
Mowing is one of the first things that come to our mind once we see the vibrant green color come back to the lawn, and it is also one of the most essential maintenance techniques to achieve healthy green lawns and to help prevent diseases – but only if done properly. Before you start up the mower, keep in mind these important care taking tips:
- If you haven’t been doing so, keep your mowing equipment CLEAN. Leaving debris unattended to on your mower carries the potential of spreading any disease that could be hitching a ride. So the next time you let a neighbor borrow your mower, make sure it is clean before you put the equipment to work on your yard.
- A sharp mower blade should always be used for a smooth clean cut. Dull mowing blades tear the grass blades, creating uneven cuts and weakening the turf grass, making it more susceptible to diseases.
- Keep the grass at the recommended mowing height for your lawn type. Turfgrass kept too low to the ground will harbor favorable growth conditions for disease pathogens.
(Who knew there was a science behind mowing?)
Now that your yard is feeling ten pounds lighter, what’s the best way to clear the excess weight? Common methods for this task include mulching, bagging, and side discharge.
Did you know that leaves and plant debris can be beneficial for your yard?
Mulching utilizes the benefits from leaves and grass debris by re-purposing them into fertilizer and acting as a protective layer for the grass. It enhances the activity of soil organism, such as earthworms, and plays a crucial role in preventing soil erosion caused by wind and water. Maintained soil structure retains moisture in the soil and reduces overheating and evaporation. With a sufficient mulch layer, weeds will find it difficult to grow through it.
As a significant factor in the soil ecosystem, it’s no wonder we recommend the mulching method. But if you’re one for extra labor, there are other alternatives.
Side Discharge Mowers
Side discharge has both its advantages and disadvantages.
Compared to mulching, side discharge is more convenient for tall, thick, or moist grass as there is no buildup on the underside of the mowing deck. Mass accumulation underneath will stall the blades and drop mushy clumps of grass debris on your lawn whereas the side discharge chute expels the grass clippers away from the machine. Usually removable, this chute prevents grass accumulation that could harden to a glue-like texture and damage your mower. If you don’t like to regularly clean your mower, side discharge may the option for you.
However, because side discharge is expelling debris away from the mower, that means you’re blowing a coarser grass debris onto something else – driveways, garden beds, already accumulated thatches (if you’re mowing in a clockwise manner). As a result, an extra labor step is created for bagging the excess debris.
Bagging is self-explanatory. Removing the excess debris by dumping the collected mounds into bags and setting it out for the garbage truck to collect. A preferred clean-up method if you like to build a mountain of leaves for your pets to jump into, or if you just want to put your kids to work outside so that your house can stay clean a little while longer.
Recommended Mowing Heights
The mowing height for your turfgrass depends on what type of grass you have in your yard.