Our warm-season lawns will soon be shutting down foliar growth with the onset of cooler temperatures and shorter day lengths. This may also bring smiles to our faces as we can soon be putting the lawnmower away until next spring. However, don’t put the mower away just yet. We need to plan for one final mowing once the lawn does go dormant. You might consider raising the mowing height slightly for that last cutting to provide a little more turf canopy for the winter. A final dormant mowing, even though the lawn has lost much of its green summer color will give the lawn a nice clean, even surface that is still attractive. An added benefit is that leaves tend to blow over a clean cut surface which may help reduce the chore of raking leaves.
Care should be taken to choose a day for that final mowing when the soil is not overly water saturated so that the mower doesn’t compact the soil and leave tracks in the lawn that will remain and be noticeable all winter.
Dr. Wayne Wells is an Extension Professor and Turfgrass Specialist. His mailing address is Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Mail Stop 9555, Mississippi State, MS 39762. firstname.lastname@example.org