The active growing season for lawngrass is upon us. Keep your lawn healthy by following good basic lawn care rules.
Set your mower at a high cutting height for St. Augustine (Floratam) or bahiagrass. Cutting too low usually removes more than 1/3 of the leaf blade, the maximum that should be removed at any one time. It also frequently results in unsightly scalping of the lawn.
Keep your mower blade sharp. Clean cuts made by sharp blades are less damaging to the grass leaves than frayed cuts caused by dull blades.
Adjust your mowing frequency to the rate of growth of your grass. When your grass is growing rapidly you may have to mow every five days rather than every Saturday. This will keep you from cutting more than 1/3 of the leaf blade in any one mowing and will avoid you producing a heavy rate of clipping when you cut tall grass. Conversely, when the growth rate slows down, you may not have to mow but every 10 days or so.
Leave the grass clipping on the lawn. They will quickly wilt and settle to the soil surface where they decompose, returning nutrients to the soil. This reduces your lawn fertilizer needs and avoids generating yard waste. The belief that lawn clippings contribute to disease or thatch accumulation is not substantiated by research.
The University of Florida research, best management practices for the lawn can be found at: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep236
You can also call the Palm Beach County UF/IFAS Extension Master Gardener Volunteer hotline at 233-1750.