We have already seen temperatures above 800 in May. We may have another long dry summer ahead, so we must be prepared. There are mowing practices we can use to conserve water in our turf grass.

As a general rule, mow a grass often enough so that you are removing no more than one-third of the leaf blade at any one mowing.

Check the mower for adjustment to the proper mowing height for the grass. During stress periods, such as summer heat, it is a good idea to raise the height of the cut. Here are the mowing heights of our common lawn grasses in Polk County:

♦ Bermuda grass - .5 – 1.5 inches

♦ Centipede grass - 1 – 2 inches

♦ Zoysia grass - .5 – 2 inches

♦ Tall Fescue grass - 1.5 – 3 inches

Mow with a sharp blade to prevent leaf tearing, which encourages excess water loss and weakens the plant.

Never remove more than one-third of the foliage at one time.

Adjust cutting height by setting the mower on a driveway or sidewalk and using a ruler to measure the distance between the ground and the blade.

Practice grass cycling and return the clippings.

Let us prepare our turf for a long, dry summer.

If we get normal rainfall amounts, then our turf will be better off.

For even more turf grass information, contact the University of Georgia Extension Service-Polk County office at 770-749-2142 or