Once mowing season is in full swing, proper mowing practices can mean the difference between a healthy, vibrant lawn and one choked by weeds and plagued by thinning patches.
Proper mowing practices
The best mowing height for tall fescue lawns is 3-4 inches, Fresenburg said. "The reason is we get an excellent shade effect, which prevents weed seed from germinating. If we mow tall, we can reduce annual weed populations by 80 percent."
Mowing tall also improves the health of your lawn.
"It will cause your grass to develop a deeper root system. So when we get into the warmer, droughtier parts of the summer, your grass can draw moisture and nutrients from deeper in the soil, giving you better heat and drought resistance," Fresenburg said.
The best practice for a healthy lawn is mow tall and let the clippings fall.
"We know we can return some nutrients by this practice," Fresenburg said. "The clippings will filter through the turf canopy and decompose fairly rapidly. This practice will add up to 50% potassium and up to 30% annual nitrogen to the soil."
To get even distribution of the grass clippings, avoid mowing the lawn when it's wet. Wet grass tends to clump together, and this can cause thin patches in your lawn, Fresenburg said.
Do you mow your lawn in the same pattern week after week?
"You should change the mowing direction on a regular basis so you don't burn a particular mowing pattern in your lawn. I know everyone thinks they have the best and most efficient way to mow their lawn to get it done in the shortest amount of time," Fresenburg said. "If you change the mowing pattern, maybe north-south, east-west or some diagonal patterns on a regular basis, it will make your lawn look better."
Source: University of Missouri Extension