Question of the Week – Number 1: November 2, 2017

“Neil, should I raise my mower going into the winter? What’s the best mowing height for my lawn?”

You gain absolutely no winter protection by mowing your lawn higher when it’s cold. The grass blades shrivel and dry up after they freeze, so any blanket of insulation they might provide is greatly compromised in the process. Continue to mow at the recommended height, just as you should be doing 12 months out of the year. (It’s not the proper time to be talking about it, but raising the mower does not help with summer hardiness either.)

I needed to measure the height at which a plot of turf was being mowed. Not having a tape measure on me, I used my pen as my guide so I could figure it out once I got back to my office.

Best mowing heights…
Common bermudagrass: 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 inches.
Hybrid bermudagrass: depends on the selection being grown. May be as low as 1/4-inch or as high as 3/4-inch. Use a reel mower.
St. Augustine: 2 to 2-1/2 inches.
Zoysias: 2 to 3 inches, depending on variety.
Fescues: 3 to 4 inches, depending on whether it’s a dwarf, turf-type fescue or a taller standard selection.
Buffalograss: 4 inches.

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Note: If you are currently mowing higher than these recommended heights, wait until late winter to adjust your mower settings downward. Scalping is best done in early to mid-February in South Texas, late February father north.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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