Darrell Blackwelder: Mowing tips for a better lawn

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 22, 2023

Mowing our lawns is now a regular maintenance tasks for many homeowners with the warm weather promoting rapid growth of cool-season fescue. Often, mistakes while mowing can turn a potentially beautiful lawn into very unsightly mess. Below are a few tips that increase beauty of newly mowed lawns.

• Sharpen blades — Many homeowners rarely sharpen their mower blades. Lawn mower blades need to be sharpened on a regular basis during the summer to produce the best quality grass. Dull blades makes the grass blade tips ragged and provides a natural opening for fungal disease problems.

• Mow at the correct height — Three and half inches is the proper height to mow cool fescue lawn. Fescue lawns often fade away when mowed too close, especially during a hot, dry or even wet summer. Correct mowing height allows greater root penetration for fescue grass and helps reduce heat and drought stress. Raising the mower blade also reduces the weed growth with shade from the leaf blades.

Change you mowing pattern — Mowing the same direction each time creates soil compaction and reduces growth in certain locations in the lawn. Change directions each time you mow to help eliminate this problem.

Mow when the grass is dry — Don’t mow a wet lawn laden with heavy dew or rainfall. Wait until it is dry to avoid potential fungal disease problems.

Leave grass clippings —Take off the bagger and leave the finely ground clippings. These release nutrients into the soil and create a fine mulch which helps maintain proper moisture levels.

Darrell Blackwelder is the retired horticulture agent and director with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. Contact him at deblackw@ncsu.edu.