Mowing Tips for Florida

Abundant rainfall this spring has led to some great growing conditions for your lawn and it is now the season for frequent mowing.  Here are some tips for making your turf the best it can be:

Cutting Height

Mowing your grass at the proper height is essential to a healthy lawn and is related to the variety of turf you have.  Here are the recommended heights for common Northeast Florida turf varieties:

Standard St. Augustine: 3.5-4″, Dwarf St. Augustine: 2.5″, Bahiagrass: 3-4″, Centipedegrass: 1.5-2″, Zoysiagrass: 2-2.5″.

Cutting grass too short, will lead to scalping which is unsightly and leads to more insects, disease, weeds, and weak roots.

Cutting Timing

Mow to remove only 1/3 of the total leaf blade area at any time, more than this will stress the grass.  Also, do not mow when the ground is overly saturated or grass is wet as this can cause scalping, ruts to form, and uneven cuts.

Clipping Care

After mowing, leaf grass clippings on your turf as they break down into free fertilizer.  This is also true of those that are left on pavement but they will wash away into lower waterways where extra fertilizer can lead to algae blooms and environmental damage so sweep or blow grass cliippings back onto the lawn.  If you choose to bag your clippings, they work very well in compost bins.

Mower Care

Make sure your blade is sharp before use, as dull blades make bad cuts and make sure debris and obstacles that can damage your equipment are moved before cutting.  Also, your mower should be regularly serviced to ensure it is running well and clean.  If using a riding mower, proper tire inflation can also be key to a good cut.  Additionally, do not add fuel to a hot mower motor, as it can ignite and clean up any fluid spills.

Safety

When using a mower, make sure to wear closed-toe leather shoes, long pants and shirt, and hearing and eye protection.  Also, be sure to protect yourself from the sun and drink plenty of fluids, as it can be strenuous work in the heat of the summer.

For more information about mowing your lawn visit Mowing Your Florida Lawn

As always, you can also contact your local UF/IFAS Extension office with questions.  A directory of county offices can be found at UF/IFAS County Office Directory

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