Lawn Care – Ask the Expert

By TruNorth Owner and Expert, Doug Bonnell

Q. If I want to mow my lawn myself, what are some things I need to know?

A. There are SO many misconceptions out there about what is best for lawn mowing. These are the top 5 myths debunked by our owner, Doug, who has over 30+ years landscape maintenance experience.

#1 Remove all clippings from your lawn after mowing

It is a common myth that leaving your grass clippings can cause thatch to grow in your yard. However, these grass clippings can actually help to fertilize your lawn and help it green up! Make sure the clippings are not excessively long- this can suffocate your grass.

#2 Golf courses cut their grass short, and it looks great, so I should too

The type of grass and type of mowers used on golf courses is extremely sophisticated. Most homeowners do not have the level of knowledge property managers at a course do. When you cut too much off your grass, it will cause the grass to die as it depletes the energy reserves.

#3 Watering my lawn with a garden hose saves me money vs. underground irrigation systems

Research shows that smart irrigation( i.e. underground programmable systems) can save 15-20% on water bills. A garden hose is sometimes left watering and forgotten about. Being able to program your irrigation is a huge water saver, energy saver, time saver, and money saver.

#4 I should mow my lawn super short in anticipation of the winter months

While lawns should be mowed up until the very cool temperatures hit, it is not necessary or healthy to scalp your lawn the last time you cut it for the season. Mowing it slightly shorter since we will have snow cover sitting on it for longer is a good idea. Leaving it too long can invite pests into your landscape. Mowing it slightly shorter, along with cleaning up all fallen leaves will leave your lawn in great shape to endure the harsh winter months.

#5 Since we have more tree cover over our lawns in the North, we don’t have to water as much in the hot months.

Our soil composition in Northern Michigan is significantly different than in the lower part of the state. Sandier soil makes the water drain through the soil faster. If a lawn is stressed out (cut very short) the lawn tends to not be able to hold onto moisture as well as if it is a bit longer. Raising your mower height just a bit and cutting more often makes for a healthier Northern Michigan lawn.

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