Mowing Height & Frequency
Maintain height of grass to be around 3 to 3.5 inches. This will help:
- Keep soil temperature cooler
- Help prevent crabgrass and weed germination
- Promote deeper root development
- Help reduce water loss
Other things to keep in mind is the 1/3rd rule which is to never remove more than 1/3rd of the grass height at any one time. Also, your mowing schedule will change based on the seasons as grass will need mowed potentially multiple times a week during the spring, and less during the summer in-between when it rains. Never mow the grass when the temperature is at or above 90 degrees. When it starts to cool off, the last mow of the year should be 20-30% lower than normal to discourage fungal diseases in the winter.
More Mowing Considerations
Try to mow at right angles to keep the height even and to promote upright growth. It is also helpful to alternate directions when mowing in an effort to prevent soil compaction from anything, or anyone, on your lawn. Always mulch the grass clippings, as bagging the grass may not always be best for your lawn. Returning the clippings to the soil will return vital nutrients back to the lawn and help keep it from browning out. Also, make sure to sharpen the blades of your mower regularly. Dull blades will rip up the grass instead of a clean slice. Ripped grass are more susceptible to fungus and also having an overall brown look.
Irrigation / Watering
Watering your lawn can be a little trickier than it seems. Watering too often will favor the development of fungal diseases. Watering too little will lead to dormancy, weaken the grass, and eventually kill it off. The proper amount to water depends on how often it rains. When rain is sufficient, apply one inch of water weekly which is enough to wet the top 6-8 inches of soil (you can test this by using a trowel or spade to see if water has penetrated down to the proper root depth). If it rains less often, more watering may be required, but always be sure to check first to prevent over-watering. The timing is also important and is best done early in the morning to decrease water loss from evaporation as it gets hotter throughout the day. Watering later in the day may extend the time grass is wet and increase the chances of disease problems
Aeration & Overseeding
The mechanical removal of soil plugs (aeration) from the lawn is done to remove soil compaction and also helps manage thatch. Thatch is the tightly intermingles layer of partially decomposed grass stems and roots that develops beneath the actively growing green vegetation and above the soil surface. Thatch decreases the vigor of turfgrasses by restricting the movement of air, water, plant nutrients, and pesticides in the soil. It is important to not remove thatch during periods of high temperatures, drought, or during late fall when winter desiccation may occur. And while it is not necessary to dethatch every year (only when buildup becomes excessive) it is definitely something we want to keep an eye on. We do find it necessary to aerate multiple times per year, once in the spring and once in the fall, in order to create voids for the over-seeding application. Over-seeding will help create that thick, rich, and green lawn that we all desire without any bare or brown spots.
pH Levels & Liming
Most turfgrasses prefer a soil pH range from 6.0 to 7.0. If the soil is too acidic for proper turfgrass to grow, lime is applied to help balance out those levels. Lime should only be applied in accordance with a soil test recommendation, something everyone on the Perf-a-Lawn team is trained to do and apply the correct amounts. It is preferred to lime in the fall or early winter as the rain, snow, and constant freezing / thawing of the soil during the winter will actually aid the limestone to work into the soil. This is a very important part of the process and should not be overlooked as soil acidity is the single most important factor affecting the biology of the soil, and ultimately, the health of the grass growing in that soil.