<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=192888919167017&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Wednesday, October 4, 2023
Oct. 4, 2023

Linkedin Pinterest

Gardening with Allen: A little off the top best for lawns


My lawn looks good right now. It deteriorates in the summer. How can I keep it green and healthy all summer?

There are many factors in good lawn care. But the most important is mowing height and frequency. The leaf blades are the food-manufacturing plant for the lawn. Raising the mowing height gives you more leaf surface. If grass is allowed to grow 3 or 4 inches tall and then cut back to less than an inch it shocks the plants and they use a lot of energy replacing those leaves.

The root system size is in direct proportion to the top. So raising mowing height gives you a stronger, deeper root system. This is important when the weather gets hot and dry.

Try to mow frequently enough so you remove no more than a third of the leaf blades. That may be more than once a week while the grass is growing fast in May and June. If you cut the grass at 1 inch when it is 2 inches tall, you remove half of the leaf surface. If you mow at 2 inches when it reaches 3 inches, you only remove a third.

If you are a golfer, you may have noticed that the fairways are typically mowed at a height of ¾ inch. However, they mow once every two or three days, so they seldom remove more than 1/3 to ½ inch at a time. They are also using more fertilizer and more pesticides to compensate.

Frequent, light fertilization is a tool used by golf courses for optimum growth. One way to get similar results is to use a slow-release fertilizer twice a year. Check the label to see if part of the nitrogen has been coated so it releases gradually. Check the label for iron. Even 1 percent or 2 percent is enough. Organic fertilizers like Milorganite contain iron and are naturally slow-release.

Another practice that will improve lawn health and appearance is keeping the mower blade sharp. A dull mower blade tears the leaf edges rather than cutting cleanly. The blade tips turn brown, giving an overall dull appearance to the lawn. This dullness goes away when the blade is sharpened.

Another way to improve lawn growth is to apply lime to the lawn at least once every two years. Our soils and water are naturally acidic. The lime reduces the acidity and improves grass growth. It also makes iron more readily available in the soil. Iron causes a dark green color.