Mowing Height — Please don’t under estimate the importance of a sharp mower blade and proper cutting height. If you haven’t sharpened your blade in 2 seasons…its due for a sharpening. Dull blades or mowing too fast shreds leaf tissue and invites insect invasion and disease problems. With regard to cutting height, the difference in a half inch mowing height in the summer months can mean the difference between a great lawn and one with large areas of doveweed, buttonweed, crabgrass, and other “mat-like” weed growth. Remember, most mowers were not manufactured for St. Augustine grass so mow tall consistently & cut at the highest setting if you use a push mower or lawn tractor designed for residential use! While some may like the immediate appearance of a short cut, mowing too low actually increases weeds in the lawn and forces the grass to spend its energy re-growing instead of protecting itself from other environmental stresses.
St. Augustine — 4 inches (the highest setting on rotary push mowers or home lawn tractors is best) Zoysia — 2-2.5 inches is best. A reel mower is recommended but rotary mowers are the norm.
Watering Guide — Well established St. Augustine grass only needs 3/4 — 1 inch of water per week. The best way to water is to water when grass blades are folding vertically like a book, indicating drought stress (grayish tint, footprints, traffic areas do not rebound). Virtually every full sun area in every lawn is dry this year due to the worst drought conditions since 2006, but the idea behind irrigation is to get the water 6-8 inches into the soil and down to the turf root zone. Less frequent long watering sessions are generally better than frequent short sessions. Short, 5-10 minute watering sessions simply won’t reach the root zone, leaving your turf drought stressed even though you are watering regularly. It is important that we all conserve water thru out the year, but remembex• that your lawn is not aware of odd and even addresses or city watering guides, it needs water when it shows symptoms of drought stress. Shaded areas generally need about h as much water as full sun areas.
Zoysia grass requires 1/2 inch of water every 3 days. Due to the thin texture of Zoysia and its growth characteristics, it is prone to brown out in intense heat, so consistent watering is required…contrary to how it was originally presented and sold to the public. Zoysia grass responds to drought by turning brown and going dormant in a short period of time (within a week under typical drought conditions). In the absence of rain or irrigation, zoysia grass stays dormant for extended periods of time. Once irrigation or rainfall resumes, zoysia grass will regain its green color. Irrigating on an “as-needed” basis is the best way to water ANY established turf stand. The “set it and forget it” approach to operating your irrigation system will most certainly lead to lawn problems eventually. As overall weather patterns periodically change, so should your irrigation schedule. Localized “hot spots” due to soil compaction may appear in your lawn even with good irrigation calibration/distribution and may require additional hand watering.
While we are diligently working to provide you with a consistently beautiful pest free lawn thru timely soil amendments, nutrient applications, insect, weed, and disease controls, we appreciate your good cultural practices with regard to mowing and watering. We hope you have found this newsletter timely, informative, and helpful. Thanks to all of you who have told a friend cr neighbor about us… we really appreciate it! Enjoy your summer and we’ll keep it growing!
The Staff@ Green Earth Solutions