Landscape Contractor / Design Build Maintain

SEP 2018

LC/DBM provides landscape contractors with Educational, Imaginative and Practical information about their business, their employees, their machines and their projects.

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22 LC DBM per unit area (higher density); narrower leaves (finer texture); more chlorophyll per unit area (greener turf); and small - er tillers (finer texture). It also alters growth: increased shoot growth per unit area; decreased root growth and mass and shallower roots; and decreased rhi - zome and stolon growth. Reduced rooting can result in adjusted fertilization and irrigation practices. A relatively lower HOC can also result in reduced traffic and wear tolerance due to: smaller tillers and shoots; increased succulence of shoots; reduced plant biomass per unit area; reduced root bio - mass; shallower root growth; reduced carbohydrate reserves; and reduced recuperative potential. Generally, turf - grasses are less tolerant when exposed to stress, such as drought, shade, and high temperatures – primarily cool-sea - son turfgrasses. A relatively lower HOC would result in mowing more frequently when following the one-third guide of mowing turfgrasses (removing only one- third of vertical shoot growth at each mowing). Conversely, a higher HOC would re - sult in mowing less frequently. The one- third guide allows for the least amount of physiological shock due to mowing along with allowing the root system to adapt and potentially increase in size. Mowing at a lower HOC also can result in altering the turfgrass community com - position. For example, a lower HOC dur- ing the warm season can give Bermuda grass an advantage over tall fescue. Mowing turfgrass below the mowing tolerance range or mowing too frequent - ly can result in: carbohydrates reserves being depleted; decreased shoot growth; decreased shoot density; decreased sod- forming ability; decreased root mass and depth; turfgrasses prone to weed invasion; and turfgrasses very prone to stress. Mowing turfgrasses above the mowing tolerance range or mowing too infrequently can result in turfgrass that exhibits steaminess, puffiness, and ex - cessive thatch. Turfgrass is also prone to scalping. Moderate mowing practices affect sod formation by stimulating rhi - zome, stolon, and tiller development. Conclusion Proper mowing practices involve ad- justing to several factors: HOC is with- in the mowing tolerance range for the turfgrass being used; climate and stress; shade; applications of irrigation, fertil - izer, and pesticides; mowing during turf- grass establishment; and following the one-third guide for mowing and associ - ated adjustments for mowing frequency. However, HOC and mowing frequency are often dictated by practical consider - ations, such as how the turfgrass is being used and available resources rather than sound agronomics. Lastly, it is good to re - member the stresses that turfgrasses are exposed to. Mowing and temperature, along with traffic, can create a difficult situation for plant growth. It would be practical to recall the "art of turfgrass management" with the "science." LC DBM Above The study examined the effect of mowing height on weed occurrence in a well-established seashore paspalum turf. The right-side plot has been mowed too low, resulting in less dense turf and providing an oppor- tunity for weeds to grow. PHOTO: J.B. BEARD, TEXAS A&M UNIV. The Relative Ranking For Nine Characteristics For Eight Common Turfgrasses

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