Wow, Really? I am not being sarcastic, I am just amazed. Now I live in SE
N.C. and have centipede(sp?) grass and it does not get very high, so I guess
I am wondering if I should let it grow more or not. I just about scalp my
lawn in comparison as to how high you cut yours. I have a riding mower and
set it about 3 on the hight and mow about every 9 days or so. Should I
Proper cutting height depends on the type of grass you are growing.
Turf grass wants to be cut higher than warm season grasses like bermuda
and centipede, however no grass likes to be scalped. If you will look
at a blade of grass you will typically see that the stalk that comes out
of the ground is yellow or white. As you move up the blade it becomes
more and more green. If you are cutting anywhere near the yellow/white
part of the grass blade you are way too low and likely to severely stunt
or kill your lawn. I see more lawns damaged by cutting too low than
just about anything else. I hear two reasons that people give for
1.) "If I cut it real low I don't have to mow as often." This is true,
but the reason you don't have to cut it often is that you are damaging
the plant and are stunting it's growth. In the extreme you won't have
to cut it at all since you will have killed it.
2.) "By cutting it low I am making the lawn spread out and become
thicker". I'm not a expert by any means but this just seems to be a
myth. I have never seen a lawn that was consistently cut low be
healthier, lusher, or fill in sparse areas versus a lawn that was cut at
a reasonable height. In fact just the opposite is true by my
observations. These lawns are stressed and when the first adverse
condition arises (high heat, mild drought, insect or fungal attack)
these lawns seem to be the first to go. I find this to be particularly
true when you get into the drier summer months. A very low cut yard has
essentially had much of the shade it would normally provide the ground
removed and turbulent ground level air is unimpeded. This results in
the ground drying out at a much faster rate than normal.
Plant bent grass, hire a crew to mow it three times a week, and replace the
sod whenever it shows any imperfection, and you can replicate it. But if
your lawn isn't producing income like a golf course, you'd better have a
nice hunk of cash.
Different types of turf do well at different heights, but if you look
around, what you'll see is people mow too short, and perhaps it's because
their idea of a "perfect lawn" is a putting green. There are some
consumer-level mowers that have a deck that won't even go high enough for
the typical lawns in the areas they're sold.
As for it "looking freshly mowed", as another poster mentioned, that's an
aesthetic choice I don't really care for. I like a dark, rich, thick looking
lawn. And, like most people, I view lawns while driving by at 25 mph or more
on the street. Most people will never stop, and walk to the middle of your
lawn, and notice the imperfections. But those imperfections are more
noticeable driving by a lawn cut too short, too. So the too short lawn is
calling attention to it's imperfections while it's stressing-out on it's way
Mow high (taking off no more than 1/3 the blade). Water deep and
infrequently. After that, there are some huge differences of opinion, but if
the only thing you did was mow high and water deep and infrequently, you're
going to be far ahead of the game.
I've read/heard from many sources that you should only cut up to 1/3 of the
length at any one time. More can be damaging. So the longer you start
with, the longer it will end up. Longer/thicker lawns can also be more weed
resistant. Shorter in the fall for the last cut will also help protect from
winter molds/fungus and matting if you live where there's lots of snow.
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