Raise Mowing Height, Lawn Renovation

The best height for mowing most lawns is 2 to 3 inches. Grass mowed shorter than 1½ inches has a shallow root system which is subject to drought stress. You actually have to mow less often if you raise the height. No more than 1/3 to 2/5 of the grass blade should be removed when mowing. If you mow at 3/4 inch height, you need to mow by the time grass reaches 1 1/4 inch. If you mow at 2 inches, you can wait until grass is over 3 inches long. If you have not already fertilized your lawn this spring, May is a good time to apply fertilizer with slow or gradual release nitrogen.

 Lawn Renovation

I have been very successful in renovation of deteriorated lawns at about 40% of the cost required to remove old sod and lay new sod. This process involves using the following steps:

  1. Spray broadleaf weeds with lawn weed killer and coarse grasses with glyphosate (Roundup).
  2. 2. After two weeks, mow lawn very short (1/2 inch). Run a thatch machine (power rake) over the lawn at a depth that will loosen the top ½ inch of soil. Rake to remove thatch.
  3. Top dress with about ½ inch of top soil (more or less as needed to create level lawn.)
  4. Sow a mixture of grass seed suited to your area. For example, plant a shade mixture in shady areas.
  5. Rake lightly so that 2/3 of seed is covered.
  6. Irrigate several times a day to maintain moisture on the top of soil for 3 to 4 weeks.

Allen Wilson

Allen has been writing about gardening for over 30 years. He is a retired professor of Horticulture.

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