Turf Management Through Cross-Mowing
Maintaining a healthy lawn is not just limited to applying adequate amounts of fertilizer and weed control products, but also in the mowing process. Mowing the lawn at the appropriate height and frequency is also an extremely important step in maintaining a thick, healthy turfbed.
The rule of a third is a great management tool in determining the setting of your mower deck. In the spring, turf tends to grow at a much quicker rate as it comes out of dormancy. It is not uncommon to have to mow twice in a seven day interval in order to keep the lawn under control. When judging what height setting to place your mower deck at, keep the rule of a third in mind. For example, If the lawn is 6" tall, simply set your mower deck to a height equivalent of 4" or to where the top 2" of the lawn will be mowed off. Most residential mowers have settings all the way up to 6". This will ensure that you are not "scalping" the lawn by taking too much of the grass plant off at one time. It will also help keep the clippings from "piling" in the lawn. If you do experience piling, simply take a blower around and scatter each pile. The clippings are full of nitrogen and potassium and regenerate nutrients back into the soil to continuously feed your lawn in between treatments.
Cross-mowing (aka cross cutting) is another great lawn management tool. This process involves variation of your mower direction each time you mow your lawn. This prevents the soil from rutting and also prevents putting too much directional traffic on parts of your lawn where the tires of your mower go over it. Sometimes it is not possible to cross-mow depending on the amount of space you are working with but it is advisable to practice this where you have the space to do it. Variating up to three directions is usually sufficient to allow the turf to recover after the traffic goes across it and to keep the soil from rutting. If your mower leaves stripes, this also leaves a beautiful checkerboard pattern in your lawn!
We at Total Quality Lawncare and Lanscaping practice both of these methods--give us a call for your free no-obligation quote for a professionally maintained lawn! We would love the opportunity to work with you!