As the Land of Enchantment, New Mexico has a lot of landscapes to admire – but the only one you’re concerned with is right outside your front door. At Lawn Love, we understand the challenges of lawn care and maintenance in the southwest, which is why we offer an array of services in and around Albuquerque to help, such as:
- Lawn Mowing
- Lawn Fertilization
- Lawn Aeration
- Weed Control
- Lawn Seeding
- Yard Clean Up
- Leaf Removal
- Gutter Cleaning
- Snow Removal
For many people, turfgrass beautifies the space around their home, helps to keep your lawn cool, and reduces dust that tends to kick up in the desert. But lawns are hard work – especially when it comes to mowing. While mowing may be one of the most basic things you do to care for your lawn, there are a few things you need to know in order to do it right. Here are a few of our best lawn mowing tips to help you get started.
What Kind of Grass?
New Mexico lawns can have one or more types of grass growing in them, which is why the first step to caring for your lawn is understanding what exactly you’ve got growing in it! In New Mexico, the most common grasses grown are:
- Kentucky Bluegrass
- Tall Fescue
- Hard Fescue
- Blue Grama
Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, hard fescue, and ryegrass are all cool-season grasses. That means they will green up early in the spring and stay green through the fall, slowing growth and perhaps going dormant during the hottest parts of the summer. The other grasses listed are warm-season grasses. They will thrive when the temperatures are hot! The characteristics of both warm-season and cool-season grasses mean that you often will find a mix of different turf types in your yard. If you need help identifying what you have, this turf identification tool can help.
Ideal Growing Height
Now that you know what type of grass, or grasses, you have, you can understand what height it will perform best at in your lawn. Each type of grass should be kept within its ideal height range in order to stay strong in the face of environmental stressors. If you can keep your grass tall (but not too tall!), then you will encourage deep root growth and make the grass less susceptible to pests, drought, disease, and weeds.
The ideal mowing heights for common New Mexico grasses are:
- Kentucky Bluegrass – 1.5 to 2.5 inches
- Tall Fescue – 1.5 to 3.0 inches
- Hard Fescue – 1.5 to 2.5 inches
- Ryegrass – 1.5 to 2.5 inches
- Bermudagrass – 1.0 to 1.5 inches
- Buffalograss – 1.0 to 2.0 inches
- Blue Grama – 1.0 to 2.0 inches
- Zoysiagrass – 0.50 to 1.0 inch
One of the most important things to remember when mowing your lawn is to never cut off more than one-third of the height of the grass at once. If you cut off more than one-third, you’re in danger of scalping your lawn, making it susceptible to environmental stressors and doing lasting damage to its health and resiliency.
As far as mowing frequency is concerned, you should let your lawn’s height be your guide. You simply can’t stick to a set mowing schedule because at different times of the year your lawn can grow fast, requiring several mows a week, while certain times of the year growth slows and needs mowing far less. As long as you let your lawn lead you, you’ll know how often to mow.
What About Clippings?
Many people aren’t sure if they should collect the lawn clippings after they mow or not. Well, our suggestion is to just leave them! If you mow as frequently as your lawn needs, then the light layer of clippings will return vital nutrients and moisture back to your soil, reducing your need for fertilizers in the process!
More Mowing Tips
When it comes to mowing, your most important tool is your mower! That’s why you need to keep it in proper working order and always make sure the blades are sharp. Dull blades on your mower will tear the grass, causing water loss and discoloration. You should try to keep two pairs of blades so you can easily switch out the dull pair for a sharpened pair.
Also, vary the pattern in which you mow as well as the direction. Going the same direction each time will result in the grass eventually starting to lean in the direction you mow. This makes your lawn more susceptible to weeds and can result in a poor cut when you mow as well. Switching up the pattern will also keep your mower’s tires from compacting the soil, which can lead to the loss of important nutrients your turf needs to stay healthy.
At Lawn Love, we understand that your New Mexico lawn takes a lot of work. If you need help keeping up with all it demands, we’re always here to help!