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Facility Maintenance Decisions

Drought Impacts Sustainable Mowing Efforts

By Ken Hutcheson   Grounds Management

OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Mowing Practices and Their Sustainability ConnectionPt. 2: This PagePt. 3: Cut Height Crucial to Maintain Root Systems

Managers seeking to ensure their departments' mowing activities contribute to their organizations' overall sustainability efforts need to be aware of the impact of drought on these activities. During times of drought, equipment operators need to increase the height of the mower blade's cut. Increasing this height by 1 inch will improve the lawn's ability to tolerate stress during dry periods tremendously.

Operators should mow frequently enough so they remove no more than one-third of the grass blade mowing, since removing more than that amount at one time can cause extreme stress to the lawn and can result in early browning.

Regardless of drought, though, managers need to take into consideration the height of the turf grass. The height of cut plays an important role in determining the maintenance needs of turf areas.

Generally speaking, the greater the height of cut, the less maintenance required. This situation is primarily due to the fact that taller grass promotes deeper root growth into the soil. Turf grasses that are cut below their optimum heights become stressed and more susceptible to diseases, especially root rots. Conversely, shorter heights of cut promote shallower root systems. Deep root systems naturally have greater access to water and nutrient reserves, increasing their ability to tolerate environmental stresses. Shallower root systems require greater attention via supplemental water and nutrients in order to keep the plants healthy and to minimize potential negative effects of adverse environmental stress.

Continue Reading: Grounds Management

Mowing Practices and Their Sustainability Connection

Drought Impacts Sustainable Mowing Efforts

Cut Height Crucial to Maintain Root Systems

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  posted on 10/23/2013   Article Use Policy

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