Here it is late November, and still, we have high temperatures in the 60’s and 70’s. While it has made the job of decorating homes with Christmas lights much more comfortable, it is not what we would like to see as far as turf and landscapes are concerned.
I have been noticing many landscapes around town with confused plants due to the warmer temperatures. In my own yard, I have azaleas blooming, and even some of my daffodils are sprouting from the bulbs we planted just a month ago. While they are pretty to look at right now, it is a little disheartening because that means in the spring my azaleas will have fewer blooms and my daffodils likely won’t have enough energy reserves to push through the ground again.
Another challenge of our warm weather is that our grass is still growing, which means many of us are still mowing. I don’t know about you, but I am ready to put the mower to bed for a while. The good news is that we are looking at colder temps next week, so I am crossing my fingers that this weekend will be the last time I fire up the mower.
On that last mowing, I plan on having the mower deck set for about 3.5 inches on my bermudagrass. For the fescue in my lawn, I will be raising the deck even higher, up to the 4-inch mark. This will help to give the lawn a uniform look without removing too much of the canopy of the grass so as to protect the root system over the winter if we do indeed ever get cold. Many homeowners make the mistake of cutting their grass too short just before winter, leaving it more susceptible to winterkill and making it easier for weeds to germinate.
Once you finish mowing, there are a couple of things you can do for your mower to prepare it for winter and have it in good operating condition next spring.
- Clean off the top and bottom sides of the mowing deck.
- Empty any remaining fuel or add a fuel stabilizer to the fuel tank. With our ethanol-based gasoline, this is extremely important. Be sure to follow the instructions that come with the fuel stabilizer for best results.
- Change the oil.
- Clean or replace your air filter and spark plug.
- Sharpen your existing blade or replace the blade if it is too damaged. You might even find a better deal replacing it in the off-season as many stores need space on their shelves for other items.
With a little extra effort this weekend, your mower will remain in excellent condition over the winter and be ready to go next spring. We encourage you to call LawnAmerica with any questions or service needs you may have.