Every Iowa lawn is unique, which is why Lawn Love offers a variety of services to cover your Des Moines lawn care needs! We provide:
- Lawn Mowing
- Lawn Fertilization
- Lawn Aeration
- Weed Control
- Lawn Seeding
- Yard Clean Up
- Leaf Removal
- Gutter Cleaning
- Snow Removal
Mowing is one of the most common lawn care practices, but it’s also one of the most important to your lawn’s overall health and resilience. Whether you’re going to hire someone, like the pros at Lawn Love, or you’re going to care for your lawn yourself, it pays to understand a few of the not-so-obvious details about mowing. Here are some of our best mowing tips!
What Type of Grass Is It?
The first step toward a healthy lawn is determining the type of grass you have growing in it. This information will help you understand how to maintain it at its very best.
The type of grass growing in your Iowa lawn depends on where you are in the state. Weather conditions can vary greatly across the Hawkeye State, so no one type of grass is best suited for the entire state. The most common types found in Iowa lawns include:
- Tall Fescue – Very tolerant of traffic, heat, and drought. It does well in shade and is tolerant of alkaline and clay soils since it develops a deep root system.
- Kentucky Bluegrass – The best grass to use in most Iowa lawns and recovers quickly from very hot temperatures in summer.
- Ryegrass – Establishes quickly in new lawns and is best suited for parts of the state with mild winters and summers.
- Fine Leaf Fescue – Establishes quickly and does well in shady areas.
You may find a few other kinds of grass growing in parts of Iowa that are adapted for warmer temperatures, including:
Chances are your lawn contains a mix of a few of these types of grasses. For help identifying what you have, this turf identification tool can help.
The Ideal Mowing Height
Mowing isn’t about cutting your grass on a regular schedule. Mowing means keeping your grass at its ideal height in order to promote health and protect it from environmental stressors. Mowing your lawn lower than the recommended height can lead to scalping, which then leaves your lawn vulnerable to disease, drought, and weeds. Mowing too high can lead to matting of the grass, which creates an environment in which lawn diseases can flourish.
Each variety of grass has an ideal mowing height:
- Tall Fescue – 3.0 inches
- Kentucky Bluegrass – 2.0 to 3.0 inches
- Ryegrass – 1.5 to 2.5 inches
- Fine Leaf Fescue – 1.5 to 2.5 inches
The ideal mowing height for the warm-season grasses you may encounter in Iowa is:
- Buffalograss – 2.0 to 3.0 inches
- Zoysiagrass – 1.0 to 2.0 inches
You should never cut off more than one-third of the grass height at a time, so let your lawn lead you to how often it needs to be mowed. For these cool-season grasses, spring and fall will mark their fastest growing season, while summer heat will slow growth down and winter temperatures will render them dormant.
What About Grass Clippings?
A lot of people wonder if they should remove the clippings from their lawn or leave them. The truth is that leaving them is good for the health of your lawn.
When you mow frequently, the clippings are light enough that they will decompose quickly. When they break down, they return essential nutrients, such as nitrogen, back to the soil. So, leaving your clippings on the lawn will save you time and save you money since it can reduce your fertilization needs overall. And don’t worry – the clippings won’t add to problems with thatch.
A Few More Tips
Make sure to mow the lawn when it’s dry. Wet grass can blog your mower and makes the practice of mowing more dangerous to you! You can slip and fall on wet grass, so let it dry after it rains before attempting to mow.
Also, make sure your mower blade is sharp. A sharp blade will cut the lawn cleanly, making the process of mowing less shocking to your lawn. A dull blade will tear the grass, causing water loss and discoloration that ultimately impacts your lawn’s health. It’s a good idea to keep two sets of blades – one on your mower and one sharpened to replace a dull pair in a jiffy!
It’s a good idea to alter the pattern in which you mow your lawn, too. If you always mow the lawn in the same direction and pattern, then over time it won’t cut as cleanly. Changing it up will also help reduce soil compaction – and give you a little variety each time you mow.
Caring for your lawn takes time and patience. If you can grasp the fundamentals, then your lawn can show you the way. Don’t forget, Lawn Love is always here to help!