Wait until sod is completely rooted before mowing for first time (2-3 weeks).
Test sod by trying to pull up various pieces of sod from the ground. If the sod comes up easily, wait to mow it. If the sod throughout the yard is well-anchored and doesn’t come off the ground with a strong tug, go ahead and start your mower!
The first mowing should be done at the highest blade height of your mower (walk-behind mower is best for the first mowing).
If you wish to mow at a lower height, lower the blade height gradually to avoid scalping. Never remove more than 1/3 of total blade height when mowing!
Mow as needed during the time of year when the plant is actively growing.
Mow between 3 and 4 inches high.
In the heat of the summer, mow as close to 4 inches as possible to promote healthy turf. Mowing low removes the photosynthesizing surface of the plant, decreasing energy production and adding additional stress to the plant that may already be under heat stress.
When possible, mow lawn when it is dry. Dry clippings won’t stick to the mower deck. This is important in the heat of the summer when fungal diseases are common. If you have a fungus in one part of your yard, brown patch for example, you do not want to take the chance of spreading clippings from areas that have brown patch to other areas of the yard that do not yet demonstrate brown patch. Wet lawn clippings have the tendency to stick to the mower deck and be dropped in other locations as the mower moves through the yard, possibly spreading a disease from one place to another.
Grass clippings: To bag or not to bag? Allowing grass clippings to remain in the lawn instead of bagging them, also called “mulching” the clippings, returns organic matter to the soil and can aid the long-term health of your lawn. Mulching the clippings returns significant amounts of nitrogen to the soil. Frequent mowings keep grass clippings more manageable, and encourages faster decomposition. If you are unable to mow your lawn for long periods and the grass clippings are significant, you may want to rake or collect them from the yard so they don’t smother the grass below.
Keep mower blades SHARP! Plan to sharpen your mower blades 3 or 4 times per year. Sharp blades cut smoothly like a sharp pair of scissors. Dull, rounded blades tear the grass resulting in more stress to the plant, meaning more energy is required by the plant to heal lesions (torn areas). Sharpen your mower blades according to the mower owner’s manual.
To help reduce soil compaction, mow your lawn in different directions each time you mow.