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Mowing Guidelines

An integral part of turf management.

Mowing timing.  Mowing should ideally be performed in early morning or evening when the turf is dry. Mid day cutting when the lawn is already under stress from the sun is not a consideration. Try to vary the direction of cut by 90 degrees each mowing. This will relieve compaction from a repetitive pattern.

To bag or not to bag clippings. With the advent of improved mulching mowers, returning the clippings to the lawn is quite plausible. Grass clippings which contain 80 to 85 percent water do not significantly contribute to the detrimental thatch layer in a lawn. Mulched clippings readily break down and return some nutrient to the soil after three to five years. Clippings contain 4% nitrogen, 3% potassium and 1% phosphorus. They also serve as a food source for the beneficial soil bacteria. Grass must be mowed often enough with a sharp mulching blade so that no more than 1/3 of the vertical plant height is removed with each cutting. In certain situations clippings should not be returned to the lawn. When the lawn is heavily diseased or the turf is excessively wet, the clippings should be collected and disposed.

Points to remember.  In extended mid-summer drought periods raising the cutting height by an inch (2.5 cm) will improve the lawns ability to tolerate heat and wind stress . Continue to mow throughout the fall until growth stops. Under no circumstance reduce the cutting height going into late fall. This would only remove valuable stored carbohydrate and  weaken the plant.   

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