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Fall Grass Mowing - when do we stop mowing?

by Stu Preston on Monday, November 3, 2014 1:40 AM

So, Old Man Winter is coming, and you need to prepare your lawn for the long deep freeze of winter.
Let’s get a little knowledge on what we should know for the prepping of our turf. The first is to understand how long you should leave your grass at the last mowing. Another is paying attention to the amount of leaves and mulch left on the lawn. And lastly, you need to decide if you are going to fertilize and / or aerate your yard.
Usually the last mow of the season will be in October or November –if you can push into November, we recommend it because it will probably keep things looking sharper, longer throughout the winter months. But, it should occur after the last leaves of fall have come down and have been cleaned up. Continue mowing as long as the grass seems to be actively growing. When you begin to notice a drop off in grass growth, plan to lower the mowing height, but not too low that you scalp good turf areas – at this point of the season the turf recovery will be very slow. Leaving grass too high may encourage moisture retention which in turn can cause disease in the grass to develop during the winter. Yes that’s right – disease in the winter - snow mold is one of the more common turf diseases of the winter. The fungi that cause this diseases attack the grass during the winter, either under snow cover or during cold winter rains. These diseases are often more common when snow starts falling on ground that isn’t completely frozen or on turf that is not fully dormant. The injury usually appears in the spring as circular to irregular spots of dead, matted grass.
There is no need to completely clean the lawn of natural leaf debris – a little is okay and if you have special mulching blades on your mower this helps to clean up the turf area and puts organic leaf material back into the soil. This gives a little head start for next spring.
One of the last things to decide is in regards to fertilization and aeration. If you choose to fertilize, look for a fertilizer rich in nitrogen, but the nitrogen type is called “quick release”. It’s good to use up the nitrogen quickly over the winter months so that it is not a hanging around in the spring. The grass will pretty much grow no matter what in the spring and you don’t really need extra nitrogen to push grass growth harder and make you have to work harder on grass mowing. Last step - aerating the lawn is important to allow the fertilizer to effectively reach the soil and it brings microbes to the surface and helps to break down any built up lawn thatch. This should get you in good shape to be prepped for the winter, but if this sounds like too much, give the pros at ProMark Landscaping, Inc. a call and we can help.

turf care
fertilizing turf
Fall Landscaping
annual bluegrass care
winter damage
landscape maintenance
Fall Aeration
Stu Preston

Landscaping services blog post related to softscaping or landscaping services that deal with living plants.