Raise height of cut or mow more frequently during growth surges?
If the welcome rainfall arrives to dry areas and for those in the wet areas of the Northeast, top growth is going to be excessive the next few weeks. When the Spring Surge of growth occurs, cool season grass plants will produce top growth at the expense of root growth. Managing the top growth effectively at this time will aid in turf stress tolerance and more sustainable nutrient management by allowing clippings to remain on turf.
The “one-third rule of thumb” states you should not remove more than 1/3 the entire leaf tissue at each mowing to allow for maximum regrowth. At this time of year for those with a cutting height of less than 2”, daily mowing is the only frequency that allows you to adhere to this rule. Obviously a rule of thumb is just that-not a codified absolute that turf will weaken if the rule not followed. Clipping removal mines nutrients from the soil and will increase fertilizer requirements over time. For professional turf managers with high value areas that require mowing heights remain at or below 2”, increasing mowing frequency not only helps with clipping management but also aids with turf density. A more dense turf is more able to withstand traffic, resist weed invasion, and allow rainfall and irrigation to infiltrate to avoid runoff form heavy spring downpours. So raise the height or increase mowing frequency to address spring growth surge.