When it comes to mowing, the shortest distance between two points is still a long straight-line and it may be the quickest way to mow the lawn too. But is it best for the lawn? Maybe not. Just walk around your neighborhood. I bet you can find the lawns that are mowed the same way each time.
It is easy to get caught in the same ruts at each mowing. It probably takes less time but it also forms depressions in the turf and continually compacts the same areas. The problem is worst during the dry times as it causes the grass to decline. These dying areas can last well into summer and maybe year-round.
Changing your mowing pattern at each cutting is the best way to prevent 'rut decline'. Yes, it may mean taking a bit more time but you won't end up with dead turf and those brown streaks through the lawn. Go diagonally or perpendicular to previous mowing patterns each time. It could be fun seeing how you can mow the lawn differently. Also, if you have brown ruts and you use a lawn care company, make sure they are aware of the problem. Ask them to mow the lawn in different directions each time.
Good mowing practices include keeping the turf cut at the proper height. In Florida we maintain the grass at the same height year-round. There is no need to move the blade up or down at each season. For St. Augustine the height is 3- to 4-inches for standard varieties and 2-1/2 inches to 3-inches for semi-dwarfs. Bahia gets cut at 3- to 4-inches and zoysia at about 2 inches. This keeps your lawn healthy.
Gardeners permitted to fertilizer their lawns at this time can also give their turf a summer feeding or maybe only an iron application. Iron alone may green your lawn without encouraging growth. In some cities and counties residents are not allowed to fertilize during the summer so check with the local University of Florida Extension Office for regulations in your area.
Stay alert for chinch bug damage and sod webworms feeding in the turf. Most likely you have to do little watering during the rainy season, so turn the automatic irrigation system off until it's needed.
How is your lawn doing this summer?