Problems Related To Poor Cultural Practices

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Lawns that have root injury must be mowed higher to allow the roots to recover and rebuild. Lawns mowed short, whether reel or rotary mowed, tend to crawl more but the root system remains shallow. During recovery from root damage, it is essential that you promote and encourage deeper root systems. If the root systems are not allowed to recover, you will see extensive damage during periods of high temperatures. Once the weakened roots become severely dry, you get root death without a chance of recovery. Mow higher until the turf fully recovers, which can take a year.

If a lawn is top dressed with sand, compaction levels increase even more. Short mowing with a reel mower will further increase compaction. Root depth becomes shallow because the soil is too compacted for deep root growth and the turf cannot produce adequate food because the leaf blades are so short. Subsequently, the turf is not healthy and is more susceptible to winter kill, heat injury and attack by fungal disease pathogens. This compaction problem may take years to develop but develop it will.

If you reel mow your turf there are cultural practices you must follow to reduce problems that are created by this type of mowing. Even if you are not reel mowing and are using a conventional rotary mower to cut your bermuda or zoysia, it is essential that you core aerate your turf EVERY YEAR! If you are severely compacted then you may need to aerate 2 or 3 times per year.

Finally, using a reel mower without the appropriate additional cultural practices results in increased disease activity, some of which we have no chemicals we can use to ameliorate the symptoms.

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