The end of July was very busy for us here at DeMott Enterprises. We were at Ag Expo, and we launched our YouTube Channel, among other things. August is looking to be equally busy, if not more so. Events we'll be at in August include the Perrinton Summerfest, and the Gas Tractor show at Oakley. (See the Events page for more details.) As a result, the newsletter that was intended to come out at the beginning of August is now coming out at the end.
It's been really hot out this month, and if your lawn is like ours, it's really brown. This month we're going to talk about brown lawns, and what to do about it.
First, just because your lawn is brown, doesn't necessarily mean it's dead. There are a number of things that can make grass brown instead of green: mowing too short, too high an ambient temperature, and being over-fertilized, among others.
Some people have an exact height they like to cut their grass, others just pick a setting. Most people probably mow their grass too short. We've talked to quite a few people that say they mow at 2 inches. While this isn't a bad height to mow at, it's most likely not the optimum height for most people.
The first most important factor in determining the cutting height is the grass variety. Grasses like Bermuda, Kentucky Bluegrass, or Fescue can be cut around 3/4 of an inch to 2 inches under optimum conditions. Other types like Buffalo or Blue Gamma should be cut around 2 to 5 inches.
One more word on grass varieties: Here in Mid-Michigan, we have a lot of lawns that aren't one variety of grass, or even two. If you don't know what kind of grass is in your lawn, or if the yard has been dug up for whatever reason and new grass wasn't planted, but just eventually grew to cover it, it's probably mostly weeds, as opposed to a specific variety of grass. These types of lawns need to be cut higher yet to avoid browning.
After you know what kind of grass you have, you need to take environmental factors into consideration. What growing zone are you in? (Michigan is in zone 4, the Mid-West) What type of soil do you have? How hot has it been out, and how often does it rain?
In Michigan, we have cold winters where the grass goes dormant over the winter, and we need hardy varieties that can stand up to being frozen and thawed then cut quite often in the spring. It can also get quite hot in the summer, without much rain. Heat and lack of water can also make grass go dormant (turn brown), and it's really hard on the lawn to mow it short under these conditions.
Soil conditions can also be important. The higher grass is cut, the more it can spread out and develop deeper root systems. The deeper root systems let the lawn withstand a lot more abuse, and hold in more water and not let the soil dry out as quickly.
At DeMott Enterprises, we typically recommend mowing at 3 or 3 1/2 inches under the typical conditions in the area.
Lawn mowers aren't the only thing we sell here at DeMott Enterprises. Most of the newsletters will feature lawn mower content just because that's the area of our website that gets viewed the most.
That said, we also sell a lot of other farm related products. Summer is almost at an end, and coming up soon is corn and soybean drying season.
We recommend to have a pre-season inspection done on your dryer to find and correct any problems before you being drying. Call us and schedule an appointment today!