All cool-season lawn grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and tall fescue in Indiana and Illinois perform best at a mowing height of 3.5 inches or more. Set the mowing height on your mower at 3.5 inches or the highest setting and leave it there all year. Try to avoid mowing during drought, your lawn is stressed and will react poorly. Also please do not mow until one day after a TLC application to obtain optimal results.
Mow as often as needed to never remove more than 1/3 of the leaf blade in a single mowing. In other words, if your mower is set at 3.5 inches, mow when the grass reaches 4.5 inches. This might be twice per week in the early Spring and once every 2 or 3 weeks in the Summer.
Return the Clippings
Bagging the clippings increases the time and effort needed for mowing. Leaving the clippings returns valuable nutrients and does not harm the turf. Mulching mowers are effective for returning clippings, but older side-discharge mowers will also work acceptably.
Fertilize in the Fall
Fertilizing primarily in the fall promotes healthy turf while not stimulating excessive leaf growth which increases the need for mowing.
During most summers in the Midwest, your lawn needs watering to maintain color and density. Water only as needed when the lawn first shows signs of water stress. These include a bluish-gray color of the grass and/or depressed footsteps that remain visible after walking across. Irrigation should be done less frequently and for longer periods of time to get the moisture to soak into the soil and have the turf keep its root system deep. We recommend watering initially every 3 days or so and for 45 minutes to 1 hour per location. Early morning is better than the evening. You can adjust your watering from there depending how your individual lawn responds. Even if you let the turf go dormant it still needs an inch of rain every 2 weeks or so. You can have a healthy brown lawn but it still needs moisture for respiration.