Preparing for summer lawn care: mow high, mow often, water deeply
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 22, 2013
–-As homeowners are having the annual over-the-fence discussion with neighbors
on whether or not to let lawns go dormant, University of Illinois Extension
horticulture educator Richard Hentschel offers mowing and watering advice for
summer lawn care.
cool-season grasses will naturally go dormant as the summer heat and lack of
rainfall triggers that dormancy," said Hentschel. "What went wrong in 2012 is that the extended
drought did not supply even the minimal rains that the crown of the grass
plants needed to remain hydrated and able to return again in the late summer,
into fall as we expected."
added that 2013 has also seen the need for a lot of reseeding and re-sodding in
order to get lawns back into shape.
unfortunate weather did provide an opportunity to improve the lawn as we
rebuild it by using grass seed that is more disease resistant and more vigorous
than those seeds used even 5 or 10 years ago," Hentschel explained. "Weed
populations have also been higher because lawns are thinned and not nearly as
competitive as they typically have been."
homeowners then continue to aid in the recovery of their lawns? Hentschel said by using a variation of
methods they are already used to doing.
summer weather comes along, mowing the lawn at a higher mower setting leaves a
longer grass blade that can produce more nutrients for the roots and at the
same time shade the soil, keeping those roots cooler," he said. "Moving the
blade up just takes a few minutes and the results are long lasting.
mower-related item is to make sure the mower blade is sharp and doing a better
job of cutting the grass blade, not just tearing or shredding. If you are able, sharpen the blade at least a
couple times during the growing season. That taller grass blade also helps the
lawn compete better against existing weeds and prevents others from germinating
also suggested that mowing frequently helps maintain a better-looking lawn. "If
the lawn is mowed more often, the grass clippings can often be left on the
lawn, and that can return 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet or more to
the soil," he said. "That is free nitrogen that does not cost anything and
clippings that do not have to be collected and put out for pickup."
the question of whether to water or not, Hentschel said it depends on the
homeowner's desire to have a green lawn all summer long and the commitment to
watering enough to keep it actively growing.
the lawn deeply will promote longer roots, which in turn allows the lawn to be
more drought tolerant during brief dry periods. This also means that the lawn
will use more fertilizer as well, no matter if it is a commercial product or
organic in nature," he said.
a dormant state, Hentschel said the grass plant crowns will need to receive
about one-half inch of water a couple of times a month even while the lawn is
dormant and brown or straw colored. "The
lawns will resume their fall growth once appropriate weather returns no matter
what part of the state you live in. In summary, mow high, mow often with a
sharp blade, and water deeply when you do," he said.
# # #
Source: Richard Hentschel, Extension Educator, Horticulture, firstname.lastname@example.org