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Lawn mowing considerations

Whether you see mowing your lawn as a chore that has to be done or a relaxing way to wind down after a long week at the office there are some tips you should take into consideration this season. You should hold off until weather conditions and your lawn are ready to be mowed. Allow the grass to come out of dormancy, green up and begin growing first.Before your first mowing be sure to check over your lawn mower. Change the oil and fuel. Clean out the air filter. Sharpen and adjust the blades. Sharp blades will ensure clean cuts on your blades of grass. A cleanly cut blade of grass is less susceptible to disease and is able to better conserve water. Be sure to set your mowing height to at least 3 inches or higher. 

A recent trend in lawn mowers is that they are equipped with baggers. These baggers take the clippings from your lawn and then are usually disposed of or added to a compost pile. Lawn clippings are actually extremely valuable to a lawn. Decomposed clippings add the equivalent of one fertilizer application to your lawn each year. Decomposed clippings also improve soil quality and minimize runoff and help improve carbon sequestration. If your clippings are too long you can mulch them by mowing over them several times. If you choose to remove your clippings and have applied an herbicide to your lawn do not use the clippings as mulch for other plants or add them to a compost pile. 

When setting your blade height be sure that it is 3 inches or higher. Taller grass will help to shade out the weed seeds and maintain a lower soil temperature. A taller grass on top of soil also means a deeper root system which allows your grass to reach more nutrients in your soil. During the mid-summer, when temperatures increase, raise your mowing height by one inch. Change your mowing pattern frequently to promote upright shoot growth. If possible, mow at right angles every other time you mow. 

Mowing is the most time-consuming part of keeping a lawn, but if done properly will lead to a healthy, vigorous lawn. If you have questions about this or any other agriculture, horticulture or natural resources topic please reach out to your local Extension Educator. Residents in Fillmore and Houston counties can call 507-765-3896 or 507-725-5807.

Katie Drewitz, University of Minnesota Extension 

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