General Mowing Tips and Advice
Your lawn can be a great source of pride for you and your home. A lawn that displays that is lush and green is simply a beautiful sight no matter where you live. Maintaining that lawn, however, can require a lot of hard work and time. When it comes to lawn maintenance, mowing is one of those regular tasks you always need to be on top of and depending on the size of your lawn, you may spend a few minutes or even a couple hours making sure the grass is just the right length.
Mowing the lawn isn’t just about appearance; it can be largely beneficial for your grass as well. When you mow your lawn, you are trimming the oldest section of grass since it grows from the bottom up. Cutting higher – typically the top third – shades roots and promotes a root system that grows deeper, giving your grass more durability. Deep roots can reach water that is deeper in the soil, giving grass more reserve power that enables it to thrive through dry spells.
Mowing your lawn, however, isn’t always as simple as pushing a lawnmower around. There are many factors you need to consider before and during the mowing process.
How do you mow the lawn?
Knowing how to mow the lawn starts with knowing the grass type you have. Not all grass is the same. Different kinds of grass require different trimming heights. Typically, cool-season grass should be trimmed at around three and one-half inches. Warm-season grasses should be trimmed at a height of two inches. So be sure to identify what type of grass type you have before you start mowing, and set your mower to the right height.
Speaking of mowers, you need to choose the right type of mower for your grass. Chances are you have a gas-powered push mower. You can either get one that is self-propelled or one that you push yourself, but the results are usually the same. There are other options available if you don’t want a gas-powered mower. Electric mowers are much quieter than their gas-powered cousins, and that can make it worth paying the extra price. They do weight more, though. If you’re environmentally conscious and want a more budget-oriented option, go with a manual reel mower. This is an ideal choice if your lawn is small and flat.
Riding mowers are another popular choice, and while they certainly cost more than other options, it’s a great fit for people who have large lawns.
Is it OK to mow a wet lawn?
While there may be certain situations where you absolutely need to mow your grass when it’s wet, generally speaking, you should always wait for your lawn to be dry before you mow. Dry grass has blades that are more upright, meaning you’ll get a much cleaner cut. If you cut your lawn when it’s wet, the damp grass clippings are more likely to get clogged in your mower.
What is the best time to mow the lawn?
The best way to cut grass is when it’s dry, so you’ll want to avoid mowing during the morning when the grass still has dew. The ideal time to mow is in the early evening. This has the advantage of mowing while the lawn is dry while also avoiding placing added stress on the grass, such as what it would experience if cut when temperatures are at their highest.
Do you edge or cut grass first?
Both edging and cutting the grass first can be effective. Some people prefer to trim the edges of the lawn and garden first, while others like to cut the grass first, which could reduce the amount of time needed to trim. It really comes down to preference on how you like your trimmed grass.
How do you get stripes in your lawn?
You’ve likely noticed that well-maintained lawns often have that distinctive striping look. This appearance comes from the way light bounces off of the grass. If a blade of grass is bent towards you, it will appear darker, while a blade bending away from you appears lighter. Regular mowing can create this pattern as the roller at the back of the mower pushes the grass down. Those who want to accentuate this look can use striping kits or use a reel mower, which comes with multiple rollers. Just make sure you mow in a pattern that features that unique striping appearance.
Mowing safety tips
Mowing can be dangerous if you’re not careful. That’s why you should always practice proper safety techniques no matter how often you mow.
When using a lawn mower, carefully read the operator’s manual. Wear sturdy boots, long pants, safety glasses, and ear protection when mowing. Take off or secure any jewelry or loose clothing so nothing catches on the mowing equipment.
Before you mow, walk through the lawn and remove any objects such as tools or toys. Before starting the lawn mower, make sure that all shields and safety guards are in place.
Keep kids inside and supervised while you mow the lawn. Never give kids “rides” on a riding mower. You do not want children running up behind you in hopes of another ride when you won’t be able to hear or see them.
When you walk backward while using a walk-behind mower, you should be careful to avoid running over your toes.
When the weather is hot, be sure to stay hydrated and take frequent breaks while mowing your lawn.
Never run your mower in a confined space such as a garage or shed, Carbon Monoxide gas can be deadly in small amounts.
Mowing blade clogs
Mowing blades move really fast – around 200 miles per hour. Walk the lawn first to remove any sticks, rocks, balls, toys – these can become a deadly projectile if hit by the blade and shot out of the mower.
NEVER stick your hand inside a lawn mower to fix a clog. Turn the mower off and investigate clogs and jams with a tool or stick.
For any problem greater than a minor clog, bring your mower tin for lawn mower maintenance so it can be fixed.
Lawn mowing techniques
When you are mowing hills, keep stability by using riding mowers to mow up and then down, while using walk-behind mowers to travel across the hills. If a hillside is especially dangerous, think about planting ground cover. Consider putting in landscaping as an alternative.
Use the higher speeds on a lawn mower only for transporting to the area to be mowed. Use medium mower speeds when mowing in an area that is wide open so as to keep control. Use low speeds when you are trimming borders and turning corners.
Every time you mow your lawn, change the direction so as to control coarse grasses and create a surface that is even.
More lawn mowing tips and tricks: mulching or grass-cycling
Here are some more helpful lawn mowing tips for you to consider.
Grass-cycling may be done at the same time as the lawn is mowed. This process is important because it puts nutrients back in the soil while disposing of lawn debris.
A lawn mower that mulches will cut and recut grass trimmings into small pieces. Since grass trimmings are 85% water, they quickly decompose, releasing nitrogen and additional nutrients that nourish the lawn.
Grass-cycling is like doing additional fertilizing each year and also plays a major role in preventing thatch. University tests have proved that mulched trimmings in a thin layer will promote microbial activity and fight the development of fungal disease.