Safely Mowing An Overgrown Lawn
By Roger Everett
There are many reasons why lawns are left to become overgrown, the property may have been left vacant for a long period of time, the property may be rented and the gardens not cared about by either the owner or the tenant, a busy lifestyle may just push our lawn care routines so low to the bottom of our list of priorities that we realize one day we have a real problem with an unsightly overgrown yard that now needs to be dealt with.
No matter the reason why our turf may have become overgrown, it's now time to deal with the problem and to bring our lawns back into full health and control once more. However, mowing an overgrown lawn can bring risk of damage to the lawn if we're not careful in how we go about cutting back the excess growth, as mowing an overgrown lawn can actually result in severely damaging the lawn or perhaps even killing the lawn if the mowing is not done correctly.
Why Mowing An Overgrown Lawn Can Cause Damage
All growth of lawns comes from a part of the grass called a crown. It is from these crowns which spring forth new runners in warm season grasses, as well as new lawn leaf material in all grasses. If these crowns are damaged or removed during lawn mowing then it becomes impossible for new lawn growth to occur at all, which in turn can kill the grass in any affected turf areas where this occurs.
In cool season grasses, if we kill the crowns the entire affected area of turf will also die as a result. However for some warm season grasses such as Zoysia and Bermuda grasses, these lawn types also have underground runners which can repair a lawn where the above surface lawn has been killed or had its crowns removed with lawn mowing. Though it is not a guarantee that all warm season lawns will repair when they are severely damaged.
The problem we have with overgrown turf is that these crowns can raise far higher above the soil level whenever the lawn becomes overgrown. Then when we mow the overgrown lawn at our regular lawn mowing heights, we can in fact be removing the now raised crowns in the lawn mowing process, thus severely damaging or even killing the lawn in the affected area where this has occurred.
We therefore need to adjust our mowing practice whenever we are tackling an overgrown lawn to bring it back into an orderly state.
Mowing An Overgrown Lawn Safely
If we are going to begin to mow our yards more frequently from now on, then the very best solution for us in managing an overgrown grass is to slowly reduce lawn mowing heights over time. Not taking too much leaf material off in the first lawn mowing, and then perhaps slowly reducing lawn mowing heights at every third service, until slowly we get our lawns back to their optimal mowing heights.
This method is the safest of all, and while it does take some time to bring our lawns back to their best appearance, it will never risk damaging the turf. What is happening in this process is two-fold: firstly we are never removing these crowns while lawn mowing, so the grass doesn't die off; secondly, as the turf is slowly being lowered over time, the turf will adjust itself to this new growing environment by continuously growing all its new crowns at the lower heights that we have introduced. Slowly, over time, we have safely lowered the lawn height and safely trained the lawn to grow all new crowns lower and closer to the soil level where they belong.
Mowing An Overgrown Lawn In A Single Lawn Mowing
As already discussed, this will be safer to do with a warm season lawn than with a cool season lawn, so the risk and results of this remain with the lawn owner or whomever is mowing the overgrown lawn.
If this is a single lawn mowing meant to quickly tidy up an overgrown lawn, then it would also be expected that we wouldn't want to kill the lawn in the process. Therefore the best method of mowing an overgrown lawn which is not going to be regularly mowed thereafter would be to mow the lawn at the highest height possible which is acceptable to the lawn owner.
By mowing at this higher height we are doing our very best not to be damaging or removing too many grass crowns during the lawn mowing process, therefore this will give us our best result to maintain a lawn which remains alive and in the best possible health after this lawn mowing. While the lawn will not look at its best, it is the safest possible option for us in this situation and to ensure the ongoing survival of the lawn.
Final Notes About Mowing Long Grass
There are often hidden obstacles in long overgrown grass, this could be anything from rocks, toys, glass, tools, or any manner of things. Such objects could become dangerous if hit with lawn mower blades, creating a projectile which risks damage to people or property. Therefore all long grass areas should be carefully checked prior to any lawn mowing taking place.
Finally, whenever we remove a lot of grass leaf material with a single mowing, we are going to be cutting into the brown thatch layer of the turf, and the longer the lawn becomes, so too will the thatch layer increase in height also. Therefore we should expect a browning off on the grass wherever a lot of green leaf has been removed at once. As long as the lawn is properly watered and cared for after the lawn mowing, this thatch layer should decrease over a short period of time and new green leaf grown by the lawn.
Roger Everett has been a professional operating in the lawn maintenance industry since 2002, and now shares his experience, as well as his love and passion for home turf with others at his dedicated Saint Augustine grass lawn care tips website. Roger covers most lawn care topics such as mulch mowing lawns, and more specialized turf subjects including how to control Saint Augustine lawn diseases. For more lawn care articles similar to this one, please visit The Saint Augustine Lawn Care Site.
Valuable Tips for Creating Beautiful Garden Landscapes
By Bob Tom
When you bring a new plant from a nursery to plant in your garden you become a designer who designs the garden landscape that you have. If you want to be a great designer, you need to be aware of certain aspects so that you can have the best landscape.
You may have noticed that some gardens have an organized look while others, having the finest plant collection, look haphazard. The basic reason for this is because the owner or the landscape designer has not planned the future of the garden properly. The following tips will help you to have among the best garden landscapes that can be had.
The following good tips will help you to have a garden which will stand out from other gardens and will also keep you from the headache of knowing what to do.
Plan the garden properly
The landscape of the garden must be planned in such a manner that it looks beautiful now while also having the future in mind. You will find it is best to plant your precious collection of plants in such a manner that there is enough space when in future you require a mower, or the stump grinder, to enter for building projects for your porch or the patio..
If this planning is not done now, then in future you may have to throw away your precious plants in order to have space for allowing movement of such equipment.
Have a focal point
The focal point of your garden must be such that it attracts people and engages their attention when roaming in your garden. It should be different than others but not out-of-place. You can have an antique garden bench as the focal point but don't use an object which is not related to the garden. A water body or an oak tree can be a great focal point which will give the garden landscape a new dimension.
Curves must be checked
It is good to have curved pathways or flower beds in a garden, but you must not overdo them. It must be kept simple so that the geometric design that you have incorporated in the landscaping stands out. If you use those shapes too often it will become common and no one will notice them.
Have movement in the garden
A garden landscape that does not have movement is like a painting. Paintings are good on the walls but in a garden, you must have movement so that you can bring life and create interest in your garden.
You may be wondering how to have movement. It is quite easy to have such movement in your garden by adding swaying ornamental grass or flowers which attract birds and butterflies and this will help to have the desired movement in your garden.
Highlight your house
The landscaping design that you have in your garden must match with the house that you have. If you have a house that does not have much architectural designs, then you can benefit by having the edges softened by the garden that you have.
You must keep in mind while matching your garden with the house is that you must not overdo it. It must not be such that your house is completely hidden by the garden trees that you have. The best of garden landscaping is that which will help to highlight the smallest of architectural features that your house has.
Think completely differently
When you are designing the landscaping of your garden you must think completely differently from the one that you now have. For example, if you have overgrown shrubbery don't think that you have to keep it like that. By removing it you may be astonished to find a sunny sport which can be ideal for a rose bed. So, don't plan your landscaping according to the present situation but think differently and you will find new possibilities to have an even better landscape.
Choose plants according to locations
When you select a plant base for a particular spot in your garden, consider the growth rate and the final size it will be. If you do not base your plant selection on these considerations, then the money you spend will not lead to overall beautification but, in the end, you will have to spend more money for adjustments.
If you think that having a cheap plant which grows fast you are gaining much you are thinking wrongly. The money you will spend later for pruning and other maintenance will eat up your initial savings. So, have a purposeful selection of garden trees and place them properly.
Let the garden show the way
The design of the garden should lead visitors to your house. You don't want visitors losing their way so the garden must show the way to the house. The curved pathway or the big pots that you place need to say, "Hi, this is the way that you need to go."
Limited number of species
If you have a garden don't feel pressured to have every plant species that is available. Select those species which will help you to have a garden which is easier to maintain and gives it a uniform look. Select the species according to seasons so that you can have flowers in your garden all throughout the year and also add to the biodiversity that you have in your garden.
Space plants properly
This is of utmost importance because it determines how your beloved garden will survive. Having proper spacing of plants ensures having the right air flow required for the survival of the plants and avoids having fungal insect infection. You may feel that there are vacant places in the garden. Yes, there will be and you can easily fill those spaces by the proper use, and positioning, of annuals.
Control pests in your garden
Most of all, be sure that your garden is enjoyable and free of pests. Bugs are bad enough in the summer months already. When you add plants, things quickly get worse. Having plants close to your house can be the first step to having pests trail into your home. To prevent pesky bugs from taking over your home, a pest management expert suggests that you spray for bugs, keep the grass short, and grow plants that repel bugs such as basil, lavender, mint, or rosemary. These tips will safely keep your garden pest free and enjoyable all summer long.
So, follow these tips and have a garden landscape which everyone will admire and envy.
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