It’s summertime and if you have a warm season lawn (St. Augustine, bermuda, zoysia or centipede), then this is prime growing season, which also means it’s prime mowing season!
The spring months are spent equipping your lawn to green up from its winter slumber, feeding it with the appropriate nutritional program for healthy growth and fortifying it with the necessary tools to fend off weeds, insect and disease. If you have done of all the above as suggested in our Spring Lawn Care Tips article, then chances are you have a happy and healthy lawn, which means it wants to grow. A lot.
In this installment of Sod U, we discuss how to mow your lawn less during the summer for mature, established lawns. For new lawn mowing schedules, read When to Mow Newly Installed Sod.
Most warm season home lawns grow enough during the summer months to require mowing once a week, which works well with the weekend schedule of the typical homeowner.
Let’s start by saying there is nothing wrong with mowing once a week. It gives your lawn the groomed, finished look you desire and it’s great exercise. But if you want to reduce mowing inputs (the total number of hours) you put into grooming your lawn, here are a few options to consider:
Option 1: Mulch and Mow Weekly
Reduce about 20 percent in total time spent mowing your lawn by eliminating the time required to stop and bag the clippings. If you have a mower with two settings, set it to mulch.
Another option if you don’t have a mower with a mulch setting is to simply mow without bagging. This strategy is only possible if you mow every week. Otherwise, you will leave behind lawn clippings that will dry and sit on top of your lawn and present an unsightly look.
Option 2: Mow and Bag Every Other Week
Another option would be to mow every other week and bag your clippings. If you decide to mow every other week, you can reduce the time you spend grooming your lawn by 50 percent, but if you want a clean looking lawn, you must bag your clippings.
One downside to this strategy is what must be done if you miss a mowing due to rain or vacation. Every-other-week mowing means you are removing almost twice as much leaf blade. One missed mowing may require you to take your lawn down by more than 1/3 the total leaf blade, which is not advisable.
If you employ this particular strategy and end up missing one mowing, you may have to mow your lawn twice the following week, each time removing half as much leaf blade to get back to your normal mowing height.
Option 3: Mulch and Mow Every Other Week
If you are less interested in having a pristine looking yard and merely want to keep your grass cut and your yard presentable, you can choose option three, which is to mulch and mow every other week. This will save you 60 percent in time spent.
See the below chart, which illustrates the amount of time saved by using various options over the course of a summer, with the standard being to mow and bag a 5,000 sq. ft. yard weekly using a walk-behind mower.
Regardless of which strategy you choose, it’s recommended you mow your lawn at the highest recommended height for your grass type. To learn more about the recommended grass heights for your grass, visit our Sod University Lawn Mowing Guide.
Helpful Tip: Alter Your Fertilizer Inputs
One final note on reducing mowing inputs during the summer months is to consider feeding your lawn with a nutritional program that makes your lawn green but does not cause excessive leaf growth, thereby reducing the amount of growth each week.
Consider a lawn fertility program that does not overly rely on nitrogen, such as the Lawnifi® Summer Fertilizer Box, a liquid fertilizer program that is efficient, effective and easy to use.
The Lawnifi Summer Fertilizer Box is a part of the Annual Fertilizer Subscription, but can be purchased separately as an individual seasonal box. Lawnifi is powered by Catalyst TechnologyTM, which nano-sizes its nutrients so that more of them are absorbed through the roots and leaves. By nano-sizing its nutrients, larger amounts of the nutrients are efficiently delivered to plants.
In comparison to granular fertilizers, the amount of product applied with Lawnifi is significantly reduced while using 80 percent less nitrogen and yielding better results. Reasons to use Lawnifi include:
- Lawnifi is a carbon-based fertilizer that does not rely on nitrogen alone to green up lawns—it incorporates iron and other micronutrients as well.
- As a carbon-based fertilizer, the nitrogen included becomes more effective as appropriate C:N ratios are restored.
- Lawnifi is strategically designed to include a combination of both quick release and slow release nitrogen to feed your lawn the proper amounts of nitrogen all year long. This is done without overfeeding your grass with nitrogen all at once.
Lawnifi is a lawn fertilizer that can be easily applied by hooking it up to the end of your garden hose and spraying evenly. It can also be used on flowers, trees and shrubs. To learn more about Lawnifi, read Why Use Lawnifi Fertilizer?.
Ultimately, there are a variety of options to choose from to reduce mowing inputs during the hot summer months. A part of having a thriving, beautiful lawn means it will want to grow—so frequent mowing is a must. These three strategies are great options to reduce mowing inputs and time spent outside without causing any damage or harm to your lawn.