With spring only a few months away, there is no better time than now to start preparing your lawn equipment and looking ahead. To help you maintain the best playing fields Indiana and Michigan can have, we’ve compiled a list of information regarding mowing, its benefits, and best practices for utilizing it.
First, Why is Mowing So Important?
Mowing your turf on a regular basis helps to keep it short, thick, and even. A thicker lawn will crowd out weeds and give your grass the appearance of being well-manicured and orderly.
The grass absorbs resources such as water, oxygen, and sunlight. Cutting the growth of it down to a consistent level on a regular basis allows each blade to receive an equal distribution of resources.
Fallen shoots of grass will help to fertilize the entire field. Some of the extra debris will be returned to the ground for fertilizer. This plant matter composes quickly and revitalizes the soil underneath it.
When to Start Mowing
Whether it’s a residential or commercial lawn or you are in charge of an athletic field, you should start mowing your grass as soon as the plant becomes active and the desired height can be achieved. During the winter months and before ground temperatures begin to fluctuate in the spring, grass may start growing, and early mowing may be necessary. Depending on the use and type of grasses present, each field may require different cutting heights.
Proper Mowing Height
There are different recommendations for mowing heights based on your lawn or athletic field’s type of turf. For Kentucky bluegrass and ryegrass fields, we suggest mowing height is 2 – 2 ½ inches. However, tall fescue is not suited for short cuts and should be mowed at 2 ½ to 3 inches in height. Other factors that can determine a proper height include desired field conditions and traffic level. The particular sport played can also determine mowing height. Below, we list the recommended heights you should mow a field at based on the sport played.
|Sport||Recommended mowing height|
|Multi-use Fields, low budget fields||2.0 – 3.0”|
|Football, Soccer, Lacrosse,
|1.5 – 2.5”|
|High Quality Soccer Fields,
Field Hockey, Baseball Infields
|1.0 – 2.5”|
Frequency of Mowing
You should mow all athletic fields a minimum of three times per week during the growing season. Because there will always be different factors that influence how quickly your grass grows, including rainfall, sunlight, and the time of the year, It’s more important to worry about the height of your turf. Mow your grass when the grass blades reach one third higher than the recommended mowing height. For example, if you usually cut your lawn to two inches in height, mow your turf when it gets to about three inches.
Never cut more than one-third of the plant height off in one cutting. Doing so could put the plant into shock and perhaps lead to death. If you get behind on mowing, then measure the turfgrass’s height and multiply that number by .667, then lower your mowing height to that number. The following day or two, measure the grass’s height and again multiply that number by .666 and then reduce the mowing size to that number. Repeat if necessary until you reach the desired height. Grass that is cut too short is susceptible to weed invasion, drought and heat damage.
Ideal Environment for Mowing
Mowing should only take place when your lawn is dry. Try not to mow the turf after a rain or full-cycle irrigation event. Saturated soils are soft and can compact easily when lawn equipment is used. During the middle of our Indiana and Michigan hot summers, avoid mowing during the day in the hot sun, especially if there is no irrigation system. In the summer, between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. is a stressful time for the plant because it draws moisture to cool itself. Try to mow first thing in the morning or the evening.
For the Healthiest Athletic Playing Fields, Call the Professionals at RZ Sports Turf
Here at RZ Sports Turf, we create and design healthy athletic fields. We are third generation turf grass installation experts and have been providing turf and lawn care in northern Indiana and southwestern Michigan areas for over 30 years. We can help improve the existing conditions of your playing fields while also providing in-depth knowledge on how to care for them. We provide residential and commercial lawn installations, sports turf renovations and repairs, ladder grading, proper irrigation and water management, aeration and overseeding, USGA root-zone topdressing, among many other services.