As the leaves change, and colors of fall become more
beautiful, it is also the ideal season to complete your fall lawn care
maintenance practices. This is the most important time to
focus on cultural practices of:
Fall Lawn Care
The work you do in the fall helps your
lawn recover from summer stresses and prepares it for
another Iowa winter. The best ways to ensure a healthy
lawn through the fall months and next spring is to start
with the necessary steps.
Mowing is the most time-consuming maintenance practice,
but many aspects of mowing are misunderstood and
performed incorrectly. Proper mowing practices play a
vital role in helping to maintain a healthy, sustainable
home lawn. Because lawns often look attractive after
mowing, it is easy to assume that grass thrives on mowing.
In reality, mowing is a very destructive process that
injures the grass plant. Each mowing temporarily stops
root growth, decreases carbohydrates, increases water loss,
decreases water absorption by the roots, and increases
susceptibility to disease. It is important to minimize these
stresses through sound and consistent mowing practices.
In general, taller mowing heights result in healthier grass
that is better able to resist drought as well as possible
harm from weeds, insects, and disease.
The correct lawn height
depends on the grass species and environmental conditions.
Kentucky bluegrass and the fine leaf fescue grasses can be
mowed slightly shorter compared to perennial ryegrass
and tall fescue grass. Mowing below these recommended
heights can result in a rapid decline in lawn quality.
Mowing height should be increased temporarily during
stressful high-temperature periods.
Raising the mowing
height results in a deeper root system and helps the plant
find available water and nutrients. The additional leaf
tissue also allows grass plants to produce more energy,
helping plants better withstand stressful periods. However,
mowing well above the recommended heights can lead
to a thin spindly lawn, where the grass plants lay over on
themselves. This matting condition can result in increased