Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Mow higher for healthier grass and healthier environment

Why is it that people, including some professional cutters, keep mowing lawns so short?

Travel through just about any neighborhood and you will see turfgrass on most properties mowed to within a half inch of its life.

Yes, pros that mow by the calendar (billing so many cuts per season) are sometimes at fault, but homeowners are mostly to blame. For some reason (We happen to think it's a kind of therapy for many) they crank up their mowers once a week regardless of the height or health of the grass. They don’t realize that if they let their grass grow another inch higher they would have better looking lawns with fewer weeds in their yards. Beyond that they would be doing their pocketbooks and the environment a big favor.

The U.S. EPA says that Americans spend more than 3 billion hours annually using lawn and garden equipment, and that a gasoline-powered push mower emits as much hourly pollution as 11 cars and a riding mower emits as much hourly pollution as 34 cars

The U.S. EPA and lawn & garden manufacturers are working to address the question of emissions. Beyond looking to technology and installing catalytic converters on mowers, the best way to reduce emissions is to mow turfgrass only when it needs mowing, and not according to a calendar.

Follow these 3 easy tips and you will save time, reduce emissions and have healthier turf with fewer weeds:

— Never cut more than one-third of the turfgrass at a time
— Keep your mower blades sharp
— Set your mower high

Here are the recommended heights for the various species of turfgrass (consider a higher cut during periods of dry weather):

Fine-leaf fescues — 2 in. to 3 in.
Turf-type tall fescues — 2 in. to 3 in.
Perennial ryegrass — 2 in. to 3 in.
Kentucky bluegrass — 2 in. to 3 in.
Zoysiagrass — 1.5 in. to 2 in.
Buffalograss — 2 in. to 3 in.
Common Bermudagrass — 1 in. to 2 in.
Hybrid Bermudagrass — .75 in. to 1.5 in.
Centipedegrass — 1 in. to 2 in.
St. Augustinegrass — 2 in. to 3 in.

Try mowing a bit higher, if for no other reason, than as an experiment. We think you will be very happy with the way your property or properties look after a while.

The LM Staff

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