Project Status - Eastburn 2012
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This season, the project team took on the task of mowing our own test sites.
This allowed us to experiment with different grass heights and mowing
frequency. The Grounds Department currently keeps the turf short, usually
around 2 inches. Our literature reviews, however, consistently recommend higher
grass heights (3 - 4 inches) as a critical means of conserving water, improving
soil health, and increasing grass density.
When we began mowing at the beginning of June, the grass on our test sites
was already high, particularly on the Eastburn sites. We were also in the midst
of a long spring drought. On Eastburn, we had to bag the clippings, because
they were too thick to leave as mulch. We did not have to bag SBS, and Knoles
was too sparse to require mowing at that time.
At the beginning of the season, we mowed once per week at approximately 3 -
3.5 inches. Once the monsoons began, however, we needed to mow Eastburn twice per
week in order to keep the grass from clogging the mower.
As the season progressed, our test sites looked lush and green in comparison
to the control sites. At this point, we believe that the higher grass heights
maintained during the dry spring allowed the soil to hold more moisture,
thereby reducing water stress on turf coming out of winter dormancy. The taller
grass also made weeds less noticeable.