Want a great yard but not sure the best way to mow? Follow these tips from the pros and your yard will be looking great in no time.
- Remove debris prior to mowing. Debris, such as small pieces of trash and sticks, that is too large for the mower to mulch can cause problems for your mower and may create safety hazards.
- Take proper safety precautions. Wear closed-toed shoes. Ensure that all shield and safety guards are in place prior to operation.
- Do not mow right after it rains. Mowing wet grass will cause clumping and ruts. This also leaves the lawn more susceptible to certain diseases.
- Mow in the morning. It is preferable to mow earlier in the day. It’s better for the grass and the lower temperatures are better for you.
- Change directions. The pattern change will control coarse grass and create even surfaces.
- Mow the right height. Generally remove no more than 1/3 of height of the grass.
- Blow clippings back off hard surfaces after mowing. It looks nice and avoids the clippings from blowing into the street or on your neighbor’s property.
- Consider grass cycling. Grass cycling allows grass clippings to remain on the lawn, allowing nitrogen and nutrients to be returned to the soil. It also protects agains fungal disease. If the grass is long, you may have to double cut it to properly mulch-up clippings. Never leave excess clippings on top of the lawn.
- Maintain vertical edges along hard surfaces for a manicured finished look. Trim around obstacles using a string trimmer.
- Keep your mower in top shape. Not only are dull blades not effective, the can damage your lawn.
The number one insect problem that is responsible for killing turf grass in the northeast is the damage created by the larvae of many of the scarabaeid (beetles) pests. These larvae are commonly known as white grubs. White grub damage can be devastating to home lawns, athletic fields, parks, cemeteries, golf courses and other turf grass areas.
Damage typically shows up in September and is evident through October. In the spring as soil temperatures warm, grubs will resume feeding. Damage caused by white grubs is the result of the grubs eating the root system of the turf. Symptoms of white grub damage begin with the turf turning a bluish color (wilting), followed by the death of the turf grass. Dead turf can be easily pulled up or rolled back, often exposing the grubs.
In New England, there are many beetles that produce white grubs, five of the most likely to create lawn damage are the larvae of the:
Northern Masked Chafer
Asiatic Garden Beetle
To properly control, scout and monitor for white grubs it is necessary to understand the life cycles of these pests. All of the above mentioned beetles have one generation per year. Generally the life cycles of these beetles are very similar. In Massachusetts, the adult beetles usually emerge from late June through July depending on the species. After emergence the beetles mate and lay eggs throughout July and August. Newly hatched white grubs may be seen in late July through early August.
Preventative control can be accomplished with applications such as, halofenozide (Mach 2 ®️), imidacloprid (Merit ®️), or clothianidin (Arena ®️). These products are extremely effective in controlling white grubs. Proper timing should be prior to egg hatch. Recommendation for timing of applications with these products is June through July 15th. A target date of June 15th would be best. Preventative applications should be watered in with at least 1/2″ of water. The advantages of preventative applications are that you greatly reduce the possibility of grub damage to the lawn. Also, preventative products tend to be more environmentally friendly than curative applications.
The Turf Pros uses imidacloprid (Merit®️) on our lawns. We have found it to be the safest, most effective product on the market. The most important factor for effective control of white grubs using Merit®️ is the timing of the application.
We make sure that all of our customers receive their grub control application within the proper timing window to insure the maximum effectiveness of the product. In rare cases we have seen some damage in September from white grub break thru, in which case we apply a curative application of Dylox at no cost to the customer.
One of the most important rules to remember when deciding how high or low you want to mow your lawn is the one-third rule. Grass plants attempt to balance their above and below ground growth, so the root systems are roughly equal to the mass of the grass blades. Removing no more than one-third of the grass blade at any one mowing helps keep this balance.
Mowing too short, a common mistake some homeowners make in an effort to reduce mowing frequency, can stress plants. In addition, if too much grass is removed, clippings will fail to decompose rapidly enough, contributing to a buildup of clippings and an unsightly lawn.
Here are some other recommendations about mowing height:
- During active growth periods in spring and fall, the ideal mowing height for cool season grasses like fescue and Kentucky bluegrass is between 2 to 3 1/2 inches.
- During periods of drought, it’s advisable to keep grass mowed at its tallest recommended height.
- During cooler weather, grass can be mowed a little shorter with causing stress.
- Adjust your mowing height by moving your mower to a flat surface and measuring the distance from the ground to the blade.
- If grass gets too tall because of too many non mowing, rainy days, wait for the lawn to dry and still follow the one-third rule. It may take a couple of times mowing to get back to the desired height.
Mowing height varies depending on growing conditions, grass type and the season.
Are you green with envy….of your neighbor’s lawn? Rest assured, it didn’t get that way overnight. Having a beautiful, lush and weed-free lawn takes time.
Beautiful lawns share several of the same characteristics. They are mowed correctly and fertilizer and weed control have been applied at the appropriate times. A picture perfect lawn also receives the right amount of moisture and is aerated annually to relieve soil compaction and give it a breath of fresh air.
Since all lawn eventually tire out, your neighbor’s envy-worthy lawn has likely been over-seeded a few times – that is, grass seed has been applied – and even had an unsightly bare spot or two thanks to visits from hungry rodents and other pests but those spots have long been patched.
Don’t fret if your neighbor won’t share secrets with you. The Turf Pros will gladly share their expertise and experience. Our technicians have been trained to identify ad eradicate insects and diseases, and test your soil to determine what nutrients may be lacking. They know when to mow and how much of the grass blade should be removed at one time and they understand weed control. The best way to control weeds is to have a healthy, lush lawn but getting there may require assistance from the application of pre- and post-emergent controls.
Healthy lawns often need some “little extras” to give them a boost. Aeration not only relieves compaction, but it opens up the soils’ pores so moisture and air easily reaches plant roots. Over-seeding directly after aeration protects seeds and gives them a better opportunity to germinate.
If your neighbor has a mature lawn, there have likely been some other and possible more dramatic moves to keep it beautiful. Landscapes evolve, meaning trees and shrubs grow. Lawn grass may now be competing with tall trees and sprawling shrubs for nutrients, water and even sunshine. This may require over-seeding areas with shade-tolerant grass, applying more fertilizer or even reconfiguring the irrigation system to apply water differently.
The key to a beautiful lawn is keeping it in balance with nature. This requires:
- Mowing at the right time and height with sharp blades.
- Applying a fertilizer that supplies nutrients your lawn may be lacking.
- Keeping weeds, insects and diseases in check.
- Aerating to allow air and moisture to penetrate the soil.
- Over-seeding to give tired lawns a boost and fill in bare areas.
- Making sure your lawn evolves with your landscape.
If you’re dreaming about a beautiful lawn, but can’t make it a reality, it may be time to bring in The Turf Pros.