Some helpful tips for the mowing season are around the corner – Salisbury Post

Mowing our lawns in the cooler months of the year is now one of our regular outdoor maintenance jobs. Warm spring weather promotes the rapid growth of the fescue of the cool season. Many lawns still look a bit ragged, and the winter weeds are decreasing. However, these weeds will soon go away. Mowing mistakes can transform a disaster-prone lawn if not corrected. Below are some oscillation faults in the cool early spring season.

Blunt blades. Blunt blades can make beautiful lawn ugly, and sharp blades can make a beautiful lawn look great. The majority of homeowners never sharpen their mower knives. Lawn mower blades need to be sharpened regularly in the summer to produce the best quality lawns. Blunt blades leave jagged cuts on the freshly cut grass tips and provide a natural opening for problems with fungal diseases.

Improper mowing height. Many homeowners often mow fescue lawns too close. Three and a half inches is normal for cool fescue lawns. Some mow fescue as close as 2 inches. Fescue lawns often die off completely when mowed this close, especially during a hot, dry, or even wet summer. The correct mowing height enables greater root penetration for the grass in the cool season and reduces heat and drought stress. Raising the blade will also reduce weed growth. Taller lawn leaves shade weed seeds and reduce the germination of many weed seeds.

Brown patch is a fungus that kills fescue when wet grass is mowed.

Core ventilation. Spring is generally not the time to aerate fescue lawns during the cool season. Coreing now increases the frequency of weed growth. Core aeration is usually done in autumn with overseeding.

Inconsistent maintenance. Fescue lawns respond best to constant maintenance in spring and autumn. If there’s one aspect of lawn maintenance that makes your lawn look its best, it is consistent maintenance, especially fertilizing and weed control. Those who chose not to be consistent are going to have poor lawns.

Irrigation. One to two inches of water per week is enough for fescue lawns in most cases. Shallow irrigation or overwatering is a problem. Watering at night can cause fungal disease problems.

Bad weed control. Most homeowners get confused when trying to use herbicides to control weeds. Lawn herbicides are formulated to kill weeds such as chickweed, henbit, wild garlic and dandelion. Broad-leaved herbicides often contain mixtures of 2,4-D, dicamba and MCPP. These herbicides are designed to kill weeds without killing the grass. Herbicides must now be applied to avoid drift, which is common in hot, humid weather.

Be patient. It takes time for the fescue to establish itself. It takes time for the lawns to be dense and healthy. Fescue and fescue / bluegrass mixes are cool season lawns that grow best in autumn, winter and early spring. Fescue grows poorly in hot weather, especially above 88 degrees. Unusually hot weather, too much rain, insect and disease problems create a myriad of problems that will take time and some patience to overcome.

Darrell Blackwelder is the retired horticultural operator and director of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. Contact him at [email protected].

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