As we barrel through another fall season here in Columbus and Cleveland, winter is quickly approaching and we're running out of time to finish prepping our lawn. While we may be thinking about storing our mowers for their winter nap, you may want to hold off until reading this article about proper lawn height.
Why Proper Height is so Important
Long grass in the fall can look awfully messy. However, you need to resist the urge to cut your lawn short. Cutting your lawn actually puts stress on the plant, and can cause more harm than letting it grow. Cutting your lawn really short can cause it to go into hibernation early, or possibly even stress it to the point where it begins to die.
So What Is The Proper Height?
After the last cutting of the season, your lawn should be around 2 1/2" in length depending on the variety. This length holds true for most cool season turfs such as kentucky bluegrass. Bermuda and bent grass lengths should be shorter, around 1 1/2 to 2" in length. You do not want your lawn any higher than 3" in length, as it may "mat" or compress under snowfall. This "matting" can lead to problems in the spring, such as snow mold or other fungus.
Proper Mowing Techniques
With all this wet weather you may have not stayed on top of mowing this fall. While it's important to get to that 2 1/2" in length, you want to get there gradually if your lawn is really tall. The rule of thumb to use when mowing is to never take more than a third of the grass blade off during one mowing. If you need to get down from 3 1/2" to 2 1/2", it should take you a couple of mowings to do it. You'll also want to allow for several days in between mowings for the lawn to recover from the stress.
Should I Remove Thatch?
Often when seeing dead grass blades and clippings in your lawn the first thought is to remove it with a heavy leaf raking. However you'll want to resist this urge as well, because removing the thatch layer can cause damage to the living crown of the turf plant. Sometimes this damage is so severe, it can kill parts of your lawn and cause brown spots.
Need More Fall Lawn Care Info?
Weed Pro's Ultimate Fall Lawn Care Guide has everything you need to know about taking care of your lawn this fall so it's ready for the spring. Finishing the fall on the right foot is important to building its resiliency to harmful winter weather. However, with so many things to do, what should you focus on? This FREE guide will lead you step by step as you prepare for the winter. Get your free guide by clicking on the button below:
Shaun Kanary has been a part of the Green Industry for the past 15 years. As the Director of Marketing for Weed Pro Lawn Care, a Cleveland and Columbus Lawn Care Service Provider, Shaun is a regular contributor to the Weed Pro Blog, and other industry magazine and blogs.
Shaun on Google+ Shaun on LinkedIn Shaun on Twitter