Mowing the lawn may seem just as basic as any other stereotypical weekend chore, but in reality, its probably the most important part of your lawn care. It actually matters when you mow and what you do with the clippings, or even how you mow. So here’s a few tips for doing a better job when you low.
First off, people generally make the same mistakes as everyone else. Cutting with blunt blades, cutting too infrequently, cutting your grass too short, and bagging the cuttings to throw away. We’ll go into detail below.
Sharpening mower blades.
Admit it. Flipping your lawn mower on its side and taking a sharpening tool to your grass blade takes effort. Sometimes we cut corners (no pun intended) and keeping any blade sharp takes doing, and you have to do it on a routine basis. Just like with scissors, knives, and other tools. When I first started lawn care, I didn’t keep my lawnmower blades sharp enough, and some people actually never sharpen their lawnmowers.
Why it matters: Blunt mower blades won’t cut well, and when they do cut, they will leave ragged cuts in the grass, which definitely increases your lawn’s susceptibility to disease. The more diseased your lawn gets the quicker the grasses will die. This will lead to dead spots, which will leave to further damage when the weather takes advantage of those bad areas.
Here is a tip: find a way to sharpen your lawnmower blades once every 30 mows, or once every 30 hours of use. At least a few times per season. Here’s an easy habit: find an extra lawnmower, save the blade, and have that sharpened while your regular mower is in use. That way you won’t have any down time and you can just swap the sharp blade in, to keep consistent in your lawn maintenance.
Cutting too short.
Not to beat a dead horse, but laziness can lead to another bad habit: cutting grass down way too far. Some people think that having super short grass is cleaner or better, when the opposite is true. Longer grass will grow better, because longer blades mean more blade surface to open up to the sun, and it also means more nutrients internally that the plants can hang onto, to aid growth.
Here’s a tip: Don’t cut the grass short. aim for 3 inches or better, depending on your area (and the season). Try and simply keep your lawn at a uniform length across the yard, and don’t overdo it.
Cutting too infrequently.
Laziness! It all comes back to laziness, apparently. So do you know anyone that tends to forget about mowing, and then tries to mow it down to short height in one pass, all at once? Don’t. Its a bad idea. You really want to cut it back down gradually, over time, and here’s why: major cuts rare actually stressful on grasses, and it takes them longer to heal or recover from the damage.
Also if you leave the piles of grass in place after the mow, it can block sunlight and start to choke your grasses. So here’s a tip: Mow a few times so that you only take off about one third of the grass’s length each time you mow, and give it at least a few days between mows.
People who covet that “golf course” image for their lawns also tend to buy those “bagged” lawnmowers, that collect the clippings so that you can throw them away. Yes, it seems that disposing of the clippings looks neat and keeps the lawn clean, that’s actually bad. So avoid that if you can. Grass clippings don’t cause lawn lifting or buildup of thatch areas, and its actually important to leave grass bits in place, because this helps grass grow. Grass needs nutrients, and some of those clippings will mulch down underneath and feed your lawn.T This actually goes back to the point of cutting frequently, because nice short clippings will fit between the grass better, versus long clippings.
Tha’s it for now, because there are plenty of articles coming with even more tips to help you, the lawn care hobbyist or lawn maintenance professional. Hope this helps, and don’t stress out. Everything is fixable, it just takes a little attention to youru lawn.