Mowing Practices 2019: What You Need To Know Now

Posted on 10. Feb, 2019 by in Lawn Care

Please see below for updated mowing do’s and don’ts based on current conditions and weather forecasts for 2019:

Mowing Do’s

  1. Mowing height of St. Augustine grass should be 2 1/2″ – 3″ MINIMUM.  This minimum should apply EVERYWHERE – grass around curbs, driveways, patios, meter boxes, fire hydrants, lampposts, trees, tree roots, flower beds etc. should not be cut shorter or scalped with an edger.
  2. Blades should be kept sharp and clean (we recommend cleaning between every cut if at all possible.
  3. Unless you are on half an acre or more, residential-sized push mowers should be used throughout.
  4. Edging should be a vertical slice downwards along driveways, sidewalks and curbs, less regularly around flowerbeds, meter boxes, lampposts etc. (see below.)
  5. Edging flowerbeds, around trees or pathway stones (in lawn) should be skipped as often as possible whilst maintaining an appearance you find pleasing (we suggest every 2-3 mows).
  6. Clippings should be bagged indefinitely, even if using a mulching blade (due to wet conditions and growing weed epidemic, if we dry out then this advice may change.)
  7. Mow regularly – even if the grass isn’t growing this will help keep lawn clear and weeds contained.
  8. Keep lawn clear of debris – a layer of leaves or pine needles will trap moisture and increase chances of fungus issues.
  9. Raise blades around tree roots and uneven ground to avoid accidental scalping.
  10. Equipment should be regularly cleaned and maintained.
  11. If using a lawn crew, Please, Please, Please ensure that you can communicate clearly with them and them with you at every visit.
  12. Avoid a lot of ‘traffic’ on stressed areas. If you have an area that is (for example) wetter or damaged or gets brown patch every year, treat these areas with extra sensitivity and care.
  13. If you have a Zoyzia or Bermuda Lawn mowing height can and should be lower, around 2″, and a reel mower should be used.

Mowing Don’ts

  1. Do not use heavy ride-on mowers (especially while the ground remains wet.)
  2. Do not use edgers at a diagonal or horizontal angle as this will scalp the grass and weeds are likely to take over.
  3. Do not mow when wet – if it is soft underfoot a mower will likely cause damage.
  4. Do not scalp the grass in Spring. Only if you are absolutely assured of your grass’ health and the ability of the mower operator should you cut short, and even then a minimum of 2″.
  5. Try to avoid using a weedeater/edger to mow awkward or small spaces. If it is simply not possible to get the mower into a tight spot, then make sure to still cut high with weedeater at 2 1/2 – 3″. I know this takes longer and is difficult – I am terrible with a weedeater! But regular scalping is one of the biggest causes of weeds taking over a lawn.
  6. Do not aggressively rake or blow a wet or stressed lawn. The improved appearance is rarely worth the stress it does to the grass.

Not Sure If  You’re Lawn Crew Are Doing A Good Job?

I stare at grass all day (my kids have to forcibly stop me from pulling weeds and ranting about poor mowing practices when we take our dogs for a walk) so I sometimes forget that something that screams to me is not an obvious problem to another’s eyes. With that in mind, here are a few things to look for if you are unsure whether your lawn crew are causing a problem or not:

  • A lot of weeds or bare areas around the edge of your lawn.
  • Your flower beds, or mulched areas around trees, patios, pathways etc. have been steadily growing in size for no apparent reason.
  • The tips of your grass are torn, uneven or discoloured.
  • Your grass is shorter than 2 1/2″
  • You regularly see track marks from mower tires.
  • Problems that repeat or migrate after treatment.

Any one of these alone does not necessarily mean your lawn crew are the problem, but if you can see 2 or more than it is likely your crew are hindering and not helping your lawn. For more information, read my earlier post about problematic lawn crews here.

If you are still not sure, or want to work with your crew but are unsure what to tell them, ask me for recommendations or a free consult if you are not already a customer.

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