Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Farm and Ranch

June 30, 2011

Joyce Block: Recommendations for mowing and grass clippings

With more than 10 days of 100 degree heat in a row, a small break and now more 100-degree days scheduled, our lawns are not growing as fast as they normally do as they do when it is cooler.

Mowing heights for your lawn depends on what type of lawn grass you have in your yard. Many people and lawn services mow the lawns very short; they believe this will let them mow less or that it looks “neater.” If the lawns are mowed too short, they will not provide protection to the roots of the grass plant and will lose water faster.

The Texas Agri-Life Extension has made these recommendations for the mowing heights for the most common varieties of lawn grasses in Johnson County. Buffalo grass should be mowed at a height of 2-3 three inches, or you can let the Buffalo grass grow to its natural height of 4-6 inches. Buffalo grass does produce seed heads that look nice when swaying in the wind. Bermuda grass should be mowed to a height of 1 1/2-2 inches, while St. Augustine should be mowed at 2-3 inches.

By mowing at the correct height, this does help to deepen the roots of your lawn grass.

When you mow your yard, you should remove only 1/3 of the leaf blade at a time. The lawn should also be dry when you mow to prevent the spread of certain lawn disease. Right now this will refer to your own watering.

To help you achieve the correct height for mowing you lawn, your lawn mower needs to be in good shape. By keeping the blades sharp, the cut on your grass blade will look neater. When the blades are sharp, the mower will make an even cut on the grass blades. If the blades are not sharp, the blades of grass will look ragged where the mower blades cut them.

A mulching mower will take the clippings of your lawn and cut them several times into smaller pieces and return them to your lawn for a good fertilizer. At certain times, you may feel that your grass clippings need to be bagged, if no chemicals have been applied to your lawn, the grass clippings make a great mulch for your gardens and a great addition to your compost pile.

One important consideration to remember: If you have had any type of chemical applied to your lawn and you have been bagging your grass clippings do not use the clippings as a mulch or put in your compost pile. Depending on the chemical, the home compost piles do not heat up enough to destroy the chemicals.

Grass clippings should not be blown into the street, curb or down a storm drain. As when the clippings wash down the storm drain, the clippings will end up in a stream, river or lake. This will contribute to the growth of green algae in the lakes, or rivers.

This article includes information from “The Garden Primer” by Barbara Damrosch and from the Texas Agri-Life Extension website.

May these tips help you enjoy the time in your yard and your lawn survive.

Joyce Block of Alvarado is a JCMG and Wildbunch writer. To learn more, visit

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