Wednesday, July 21, 2010

More mower stripes

Now here is another lawn with stripes- 

This is in a narrow part of the lawn near the driveway. Although this part of the lawn abuts the neighbour's lawn, the part belonging to this customer is only about 4 feet wide. So the lawn cutters always go up and down this strip in the same pattern each week. 

This repetitive mowing pattern has created grooves in the soil surface that make it uneven. Normally this may not be a problem.

In this case, the lawn is being mowed too short. However, the grass growing in the wheel tracks is not being mowed as short as the lawn in between. 

So that narrow strip of grass is enjoying the benefits of a longer mowing height. It is staying greener. The longer grass blades provide just a little more shade. This keeps the soil cooler and reduces water evaporation. This results in a healthier lawn in that narrow strip.

Another benefit that is a little harder to see- there is less crabgrass growing in the deeper grooves. The cooler soil temperatures may be just enough to reduce the crabgrass germination in that strip of grass.

At another lawn I was looking at, I noticed that there was crabgrass growing along the edge. It is normally along the edges of drives and walks that crabgrass grows. I always assumed this was due to the warmer soil conditions due to heat transference from the heat-absorbing pavement adjacent to the lawn.

But I also noticed that the lawn in this case was an inch or so higher than the adjacent sidewalk. So this meant that each time the edge was mowed, the wheel of the mower was on the walk. In turn the strip of lawn adjacent to the walkway ended up being cut just a bit lower and closer than the lawn one strip away.
Which then leads me to wonder- is the crabgrass there because of the warming effect of the pavement or is it due to the fact the lawn is cut slightly lower along the edge?

Mowing Stripes

On the ball diamonds and soccer fields, mowing stripes are a visual pattern used to enhance the aesthetics of the lawn. 

Sometimes the stripes are not so desirable.
Visited this lawn, noticed stripes in the front. These lines are definitely caused by the lawn mower wheels.

Could be due to the spread of a disease such as pythium.
Or a simpler answer, could simply be that the lawn was mown when the lawn was under stress. That stress could have been from the high temperatures we have been getting or it could have been drought stressed. The weight of the lawn mower on the thin strip of grass is enough to cause the lawn to suffer.