Picture of the Week

April 18, 2022

Spring Has Sprung and Mowing Has Begun!

John Orick, Purdue Master Gardener State Coordinator, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture​

April temperatures have led to the beginning of the mowing season for homeowners and turf managers.

Here are few tips as you begin mowing turf areas this spring:

  • Prepare your mower by sharpening blades for improved mower performance, a better looking lawn, and less stress on turfgrass plants. Consult a mechanic or owner's manual for additional routine maintenance for your make and model of mower.
  • Mow cool-season turfgrasses at a height of 3-4 inches. Mowing turf at higher heights encourages deep root growth and helps prevent weed infestations.
  • Mow turf based on growth rate rather than on a schedule. Lawns mowed according to turf growth tend to be thicker with less bare areas.
  • Return grass clippings to the lawn rather than collecting them for removal. This practice recycles nutrients, adds organic matter to soil, saves time, and decreases costs. If excess grass clippings remain after mowing, disperse clippings by mowing the area again or using a blower or rake to spread out clippings to prevent damage to plants underneath.

Click images to enlarge

Comparison of grass blades cut with differant blades and sharpness. Photo 1. Mowing with dull blades can cause damage to leaf blades affecting turf health and appearance of the lawn. (A-clean cut by sharp blade, B-missed cut by dull blade, C-ragged cut by dull blade, D-ragged cut by dull blade) (From Purdue Master Gardener Manual, 2nd Edition) (Photo by Aaron Patton)
Excess grass clippings Photo 2. Mow according to turf growth to prevent excess grass clippings. (From Purdue Master Gardener Manual, 1st Edition) (Photo by Mary Welch-Keesey)

Related Articles and Publications:

Mowing, Dethatching, Aerifying, and Rolling Turf (AY-8-W)


Spring Mowing Tips


Taking Care of Your Yard: The Homeowner's Essential Guide to Lawns, Trees, Shrubs, and Garden Flowers (HO-236-W) https://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/HO/HO-236-W.pdf

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