More Than Mowing: The Fundamental Biology Behind a Beautiful Lawn

A verdant and well-maintained lawn meets all the needs of grass to encourage robust and vigorous growth. Careful and periodic mowing, deep watering, and sufficient aeration all contribute to the healthy growth of grass in a lawn.

Throughout North America, the appeal of a tidy, well-kept green lawn is the epitome of the suburban dream. Across the United States and Canada, lawns are a prominent part of the suburban landscape. Residential homes in cities such as Grande Prairie often have large lawns, which would need to be periodically attended by residential mowers to maintain their well-manicured appearances.

A well-kept lawn leaves a good impression on the homeowner and the beauty it adds to the landscape helps boost the curb appeal of the home. However, there is more to lawn maintenance than meets the eye. Mowing is more than just manicuring the lawn to maintain the aesthetic appearance of order.

Why mow

Many of the essential considerations in lawn care are influenced heavily by the fundamental biology of grass, and mowing is no exception. There is a reason why lawns need to be periodically mowed, and the time between mowing should not be too lengthy. They all stem from the way grass grows.

In the wild, the grass is constantly fed upon by grazing animals. To cope, grass has to grow and regrow to survive. This adaptation toward grazing worked so well that grass flourishes when it is constantly cropped by the action of grazing animals, which encourages it to produce vigorous new growth.

Man mowing the lawn

To mimic the action of grazing animals, grass must be periodically mowed to a specific length to maintain its vigor. A similar principle is observed when pruning the branches of trees and shrubs. The constant action of pruning and mowing encourages fresh young growth, which contributes positively to the health of plants. Grass needs ample time to growth, but should not be left to grow too long.

Letting in Air

It isn’t enough to keep the grass at the appropriate length regularly to encourage healthy growth. Grass also needs loose soil to flourish, which would allow their roots to penetrate deep in the soil. Loose soil also provides ample aeration to the root systems of the grass, allowing toxic gases to escape rather than build up in the ground.

Soil compaction is a perennial enemy of any green lawn. As soil becomes compacted, it becomes less capable of facilitating the exchange of gases, creating a noxious and stressful environment for the grass on top. The lethargic growth of the grass would also make it vulnerable to diseases and other outside stressors. For this reason, running and walking on turf is prohibited in many public and private lawns.

To keep the ground appropriately loose, it should be periodically aerated, which involves walking over the lawn with spiked boots to create aeration holes. Although leaving a small layer of clippings is appropriate, said layer should not be allowed to get too thick. After aeration, grass should not be mowed again until it has exceeded a length of at least three inches.

Putting Down Roots

Much like most plants, grass with a deep root system will flourish in the long run. The deeper root systems draw in more nutrients and water for the grass to grow, which helps it become resilient in the face of adverse weather and other environmental challenges. Loose soil is far from the only thing that can encourage healthy root growth. Thorough watering that saturates deep into the soil encourages the growth much deeper root systems for the turf.

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