-- LAWN CARE --
Say Hello To A Healthy Minnesota Cut
March 16, 2021 ThreeTimbersServices.com
Let’s face it, lawn mowing is one of the most time consuming outdoor maintenance activity you don’t enjoy all summer long. Just think of the weekly inconvenience associated with pushing your lawn mower back and forth across your yard for hours while thinking about all of the other amazing things you could do during that same time period.
And what makes it even worse… Even with your weekly torture, “Jeff’s” lawn next door still manages to look more beautiful than your own as he sits on his front porch sipping margaritas as a professional service sweats away at his perfectly mown lawn.
Still not convinced to start using Elevated Lawns? Understandable. After all, you are a do-it-yourselfer and you won’t let “Jeff’s” gleeful comfort persuade you to use a professional lawn service that will save you precious time and energy.
So for all you do-it-yourselfers, here’s a guide on how you can cut your own lawn better than your neighbors or “Jeff’s”. Because the grass should never be greener on the other side.
To create the perfect Minnesota lawn you will need to focus on three main factors: height, decomposition, and blade maintenance. Weekly lawn maintenance done right will lead to vigorous growth and perfect lawn density that will contribute to minimal weeds and enhanced lawn nutrition.
Typically, your lawn is going to be a species of one of following grasses: Kentucky Bluegrass, Perennial Ryegrass, or a mix of Fescues. These common residential lawns require a lawn height of 3 inches or higher for optimal health.
Lawn heights of 3 inches may seem long for some homeowners but the added benefit is significant:
- Taller grass leads to greater density which in return keeps the soil cooler protecting the grass roots and shades out weed seeds to keep those pesky dandelions from taking root.
- The height of your grass is directly correlated to the root strength of your lawn. Therefore, the taller your grass, the longer the roots, giving your lawn a greater ability to reach the nutrients necessary during the scorching hot days of July and August.
When doing your own lawn care, it’s also imperative that you only remove 1/3 of the grass leave tissue on each cut. For example: Let’s say your lawn is currently the ridiculous length of 6 inches (don’t you dare let this happen) and you finally have the decency to mow your lawn. When setting your mower height, you are going to want to leave 4 inches of leave tissue. This is important for two reasons:
- First: If you end up mowing your lawn too short, weed seeds end up getting the sunlight and nutrition necessary to increase their chance of germination.
- Second: Mowing your lawn too short in the dog days of summer leads to scalping which will result in significant stress to your grass plant.
In conclusion, when it comes to lawn height, try to maintain a 3-inch lawn, and be sure to mow before your lawn reaches 4.5 inches tall.
This is a quick but very important point. If you are mowing your own lawn, you need to make sure your blades are sharp. Dull blades will lead to tearing, as opposed to shearing with a sharp blade, which makes a huge difference in the aesthetics of your cut. On top of that, tearing creates jagged edges, leading to longer recovery time, creating more opportunities for pests and diseases to invade your manicured haven. Lastly, if we haven’t yet convinced you, a clean cut lawn is able to conserve water, reducing irrigation and saving you a few dollars in the process.
Lucky us, we live in Minnesota! Therefore, you have to ask decide when to start and quit mowing the lawn each year. Believe it or not, it’s pretty simple… Start mowing your lawn as soon as it starts growing each spring and then continue mowing until it stops growing in the fall (generally around October). There is one tip we recommend to properly “winterize” your lawn: Make sure your final cut remains short as winter arrives. You want to maintain a 1 1/2 inch cut all winter long to minimize diseases that occur when grass is too long. Also, longer grass encourages vole (a small rodent) activity, nobody wants voles.
The last few miscellaneous tips are the following:
- As July and August roll around, try to increase your mower height by an inch to help your lawn cope with the heat and dryer weather.
- Be sure to switch up the direction you mow each week and be sure to mow at right angles every other time. Switching up the direction and alternating your mowing patterns will promote shoot growth, prevent scalping, and decrease soil compaction.
- During your first mow in the spring and your last mow in the fall, consider bagging excessive debris or raking them up to allow your lawn a little extra air to breath.