North Texas Mowing Tips
TIPS From “Weed Man”
DO NOT SCALP your North Texas lawn!
A thick lawn creates a canopy over the soil, which helps to prevent weeds from germinating. When you scalp the lawn, you remove this blanket and expose your lawn to severe weed outbreaks. Additionally, scalping the lawn before it has fully come out of dormancy exposes your lawn to weed outbreaks at the most vulnerable time of year for weeds in our region. Pre-emergent applications do not stop all weeds, but a thick lawn along with pre-emergent applications help prevent many weeds.
There are a significant amount of web sites, landscapers, and mowers who insist scalping the lawn is necessary. They are wrong! The trusted resource for lawns in our region is Texas A&M University, and they recommend normal mowing heights at all times of the year (scalping is not a normal mowing height), and do not remove the grass clippings from the lawn.
North Texas lawns should be mowed regularly at their proper heights (see below). This means that your North Texas lawn may require mowing more than once a week during peak growth and only once every two weeks during periods of slow growth.
The root system of a grass plant grows proportionately to the above grounds parts of the plant; therefore, a longer cutting height results in a stronger, deeper root system.
Calculate your mower blade height by measuring the distance between the concrete surface and the base of your lawn mower at the sides, front and back.
Lawn mower blades should be kept razor sharp. A sharp blade makes a clean, precise cut of each grass blade. This clean cut allows the grass blade to heal quickly and keeps the lawn looking tidy.
A dull blade chews and frays grass blades. This messy chopping results in straggly, rough tips which give the lawn an ugly, gray appearance and expose wounded tissue to disease attacks.To maintain a razor-sharp blade throughout the mowing season, sharpen the blade 2-3 times each year. Remember that few new lawn mowers are sold with a pre-sharpened blade. A sharp blade results in longer blade life and less wear and tear on your lawnmower’s engine.
Please mow frequently. No more than 1/3 of a grass plant should be removed with each mowing.
It is only necessary to remove lawn clippings if they are long and will smother the lawn. Leaving grass clippings in the lawn when mowing is an environmentally beneficial practice referred to as grass recycling. Leaving grass clippings to decompose on a lawn naturally adds valuable nutrients back into the soil and also helps to conserve valuable landfill space by reducing waste.
The use of a mulching type mower is preferred for this practice since it promotes a more uniform distribution of grass clippings, thus allowing for quicker decomposition of the recycled grass plants.
If the optimum mowing height selected is 2 inches then the lawn should be mowed before the lawn height reaches 3 inches to ensure that only 1/3 of the blade height is removed.
To reduce the chance of frayed grass blades, and slips and falls, lawn mowings should be done when grass blades are dry.
The mowing direction should be altered each mowing. This procedure will keep the grass growing strong and straight while reducing weed grass infestation.
Lawns cut at the proper height are stronger and healthier because the root system is stronger and deeper. Your lawn will require fewer waterings and will be more able to resist insect and diseases attack!