How Does Mow Height Affect My Athletic Field?

BJ Haunert - Thursday, October 13, 2016

athletic-field

Mowing any kind of turf puts stress on the lawn as a whole, and it's all thanks to a little system we call photosynthesis. Cutting the lawn takes tissue from the leaf that limits its ability to produce the photosynthate it needs to recover and get back to a healthy state of growth. Just like young athletes need time after practice or play for their muscles to recover and become stronger, grass needs time to regenerate after being beaten up by athletic use or the lawn mower. Most lawn care specialists determine their ideal mowing length by first looking at the dimensions of the root system. Kentucky bluegrass, for example, has shown that root growth was more than twice as great when the grass was mowed at a 2-inch height verses a 0.75-inch height.

Here are some quick tips for mowing an athletic field

  1. The standard mowing heights for sports turf grasses are between 1 and 3 inches, depending on the sport and the amount of maintenance the turf receives.
  2. The lower the mowing height, the greater the cultural intensity required to take care of the grass.
  3. A multi-purpose field with no irrigation should be mowed at 3-inches.
  4. Lower mowing heights should be employed when the fields are irrigated and when the sport being played relies heavily on traction.

Cut the turf too low and there won't be enough plant material to regenerate growth. The impact is most apparent during summer stress periods when moisture evaporates faster. In those times, the lawn may turn brown until it has time to recover, probably next spring. Alternatively, sports fields left to grow too high can cause a whole other set of problems. Turf left to grow too high can also become "clumpy", which messes with athletic performances and the safety of the players.

For all of your turf care questions, count on the experts at Modern Turf.

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