Sooner or later, the grass will need to be cut. My first job in the horticulture field was mowing lawns. I enjoyed it enough to pursue an education in horticulture.

Knowing what you are doing is important for an attractive and healthy lawn. K-State Research and Extension can provide that information.

Doing it right requires some training. A free lawn mowing clinic provides training to youth in fourth through sixth grade. It is Monday, March 8 from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Pottorf Hall in CiCo Park. Pre-registration is required by calling 785-537-6350 or going to www.riley.ksu.edu.

Mowing high and letting the clippings lie is the best method for a healthy lawn. Cool-season grasses like bluegrass and tall fescue are mowed no shorter than 2.5 inches. They can even be maintained at 3 to 4 inches.

Longer grass shades the soil, helps prevent weed seed germination, keeps the soil cooler and reduces water loss.

Grass leaves are necessary for the plant to feed itself. Never remove more than a third of the leaf blade or you start to starve the grass.

The taller you mow, the longer your leaf blade will be that you are cutting. This amounts to less mowings per season on a higher mowing height versus a short one.

Clippings left on the lawn break down quickly. They will return nutrients and organic matter to the soil.

Grass clippings left on the lawn provides up to 25% of a lawn’s seasonal nitrogen needs. Mowing goes quickly when you don’t need to empty the bagger.

Keep the clippings on the lawn and not in the street or on the driveway where they could end up in storm water.

You have the opportunity to cut the lawn about 30 times a season. That is 30 times to keep your lawn and your neighborhood looking good.

Use a sharp mower blade which needs sharpen about twice a season.

Contact your local K-State Research and Extension office for Kansas Healthy Yards and Communities information.

You can find out more information on this and other horticulture topics by going to the Riley County, K-State Research and Extension website at www.riley.ksu.edu.

Gregg may be contacted by calling 785-537-6350, stopping by 110 Courthouse Plaza in Manhattan or e-mailing geyeston@ksu.edu.

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