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Mowing – Recommended Cutting Heights and Frequencies

 Mowing should commence once the turf has established a root system and is held to the soil. Don’t leave it too long before you mow for the first time, as you will only scalp the turf. Establishment times can vary from 4 – 6 weeks in winter, to 2-3 weeks in summer. Your choice of cutting height can enhance the positive growing characteristics, or on the other hand, diminish the appearance and resilience of the turf. Rule of thumb is to only remove one third of leaf at any one time. For mowing Buffalo, Lawn Doctor Turf Farms recommend a cutting height of 20-25mm in summer, mowing every 2 weeks and 25-30mm in winter, mowing every 4 weeks. If you have planted the turf in an area which has considerable shade cover then your mowing height will need to be quite high!

The benefits of following these guidelines are as follows:

  • Lawn retains that luxurious look and feel which not only looks good but feels good at the same time. More frequent cutting allows for only one third of the leaf to be removed, which assists the plant to retain the majority of water and nutrient stored in its leaves, thus enabling the turf to survive quite happily on just two waterings per week.
  • A higher cut ensures that the turf is not scalped, which in turn protects the stems from direct sunlight and heat stress.
  • When stems are scalped, new ones grow to cover and protect the damaged ones. This has been a major cause for thatching in the past.
  • Allowing the leaf to remain longer also promotes a deeper root system. Scientific research shows a direct correlation between the two. This is being promoted worldwide to conserve water. In cooler months, it is critical to leave as much of the leaf intact as possible after mowing, as the reduced sunlight and lower temperatures cause the photosynthesis process to slow down, therefore restricting the plant’s ability to produce food. Once too much leaf has been removed, the turf will struggle to recover and will simply tend to go dormant until the weather warms up again. In this weakened state, the turf will damage easily, which in turn will allow unwanted weeds to establish themselves.

For Lawnmowing contractors, adjusting the cutting height of conventional mowers can be a hassle, therefore it is necessary to overcome this problem by having a wind up/down height adjuster fitted to the mower or by using a different mower for the buffalo.