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Revving Up the Lawnmowers this Spring

by Gabby Hyman, All About Lawns Columnist

Ah, the cry we've waited for all winter: "Ladies and gentlemen, start your mowers!" Too late to turn back now, the grass is growing. The overall well-being of your lawn may depend upon how and when you mow this summer. Here are some tips that can spare your turf and potentially save you money and heartache.
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Mow when dry and cool

The lawn that is. Grass responds negatively to heat and stress. That means if you mow in the middle of a hot summer's day, or when the grass is soaking wet you can stress it beyond repair. Plus wet mowing spreads fungus and other lawn disease. It's best to wait at least 12 hours after watering and mow in the morning hours once the dew has lifted, or mow in the early evening before wetting the grass down.

Mow in multiple directions with a sharp blade

Most experts agree you should use a very sharp blade (have yours sharpened now!). Dull blades shred the grass and turn your lawn brown. By cutting the lawn in different directions each time--north-south, east-west, and diagonally--you prevent what is known as "blade leaning" which can weaken the leaves as you mow.

Mow at the optimum heights for your grass

Recommended mowing lengths during high-stress, hot temperatures are typically a half-inch longer than those during the rest of the growing season.

Here are suggested mowing lengths:

Kentucky Bluegrass: 1½" to 2½"
Tall Fescue: 2" to 3"
Fine Fescue: 1½" to 2½"
Zoysiagrass: ¾" to 2"
Bermudagrass: ½" to 2"
St. Augustinegrass: 2" to 4"
Ryegrass: 1½" to 2½"
Centipedegrass: 1" to 1½"

A good rule of green thumb is never cut more than a third of your existing length of grass. Once a week should be often enough.


About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys, GoTo.com, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.

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