Mowing practices for healthy lawns
Proper mowing practices contribute to a healthy lawn and minimal weeds, and, if you leave grass clippings on your lawn, contribute to lawn nutrition. Typically, the species of grasses used in Minnesota lawns are Kentucky bluegrass and fine fescues.
For a maintained residential bluegrass and fescue lawn, maintain a height of 3 inches or higher.
- Taller grass shades out weed seeds, and keeps soil cooler.
- Taller grass means longer roots, and greater ability to withstand drought and reach nutrients.
Remove no more than 1/3 of the leaf tissue when you mow.
- Mowing too short or scalping results in stress to the grass plant. Weak grass plants will take longer to recover. To maintain a 3 inch lawn, mow before the grass reaches 4.5 inches tall.
- Mowing too short can allow weed seeds to get more sun and increase the chance of germination.
What time of the year should I stop mowing?
Continue mowing until the grass stops growing in the fall, generally around the end of October.
- Maintaining grass height before winter can minimize diseases that occur when grass is too long over the winter.
- Longer grass during winter may encourage vole activity.
Leave your clippings on the lawn
- Decomposed clippings add the equivalent of one fertilizer application to your lawn each year.
- Decomposed clippings improve soil quality and minimize run off.
- Leaving clippings on your lawn improves carbon sequestration.
- If your clippings are too long, mulch by mowing several times or rake them off.
- If you have used herbicides on your lawn, leave clippings after you mow – don’t use as mulch on other plants or add to compost.
Make sure your mower blades are sharp.
- Dull blades leave jagged edges and plants are more susceptible to diseases.
- Cleanly cut grass blades are able to conserve water, reducing the need for irrigation.