Regular mowing is an effective way to keep your lawn looking great. But poor mowing practices like mowing too short, mowing with dull blades, frequent mowing or cutting too much at once can cause problems with your lawn. So it’s important that you arm yourself with enough knowledge on how to do proper lawn mowing.
Planning on mowing your lawn soon? Here are some simple rules to follow to ensure you mow properly.
Set your mower high.
Your mower should be the highest preferred setting depending on your grass type, and be sure to cut only ⅓ of the grass blades at any single instance whenever possible. This may mean you will have to mow again after several days. Cutting too aggressively which is also called scalping the lawn, diverts the grass plants’ energy on regrowing their blades instead of deepening their roots, which is far more important. Deep root systems helps the grass plants get more water and nutrients in the soil, making them healthier.
Scalping the lawn also encourage weeds to grow. Taller grass blades keep the soil shaded and cooler, preventing weeds from sprouting. It’s also important to note that taller grass is softer and provides better cushion to falls than shorter ones.
Most grass types respond best to mowers at the highest settings. But there’s always an exception to the rule. Zoysiagrass and Centipedegrass are best mowed at a middle mower setting, while Bermudagrass and creeping bentgrass are better mowed at the lowest setting.
Mow your lawn dry.
Mowing your lawn in the early evening is the best preferred time. You wouldn’t want to mow when the temperature is at its peak. Aside from the fact that it stresses you as the mower, it also stresses the grass. The lawn is usually driest in the early evening, unless of course if it rained during the day. The sun is also not as intense, and you are giving your lawn enough time to recover before the next afternoon’s heat strikes.
Lawns are usually moist in the morning, even if it hasn’t rained because of dew or fog. If it did rain, wait for your lawn to dry before mowing it. Cutting wet grass will likely result in uneven trims. Wet trimmed grass can also clog your mower and cause it to dump clumps of grass in your lawn that can smother the growing grass and result in brown spots.
Practice varying mowing patterns.
Do vary your mowing patterns every time. Mowing in different directions will prevent the grass from leaning over to only one direction, which will make it stand up nice and tall.
Don’t stick to a single mowing schedule.
It’s a must to mow as often as possible depending on the grass type, growing conditions, growth pattern and season. Setting a schedule and strictly following it will prevent you from mowing your lawn when it actually needs cutting. Grass grows more actively during springtime and so it needs to be mowed more frequently too, unlike during summer months where grass growth is much slower.
Wait for grass to grow before mowing a new lawn.
If you had just spread grass seeds, let the new grass grow before mowing it. Only cut new grass seedlings when they’ve reached their mowing height depending on their grass type. Generally, you don’t cut more than ⅓ of the top of the grass blades. Too much cutting can stress new grass plants which will, in turn, slow down your new growth.
See the guide on how tall your grass should be before you start mowing them:
Bahia: 2-2 ½ inches
Bermuda: 1½-2 inches
Bluegrass: 2-2½ inches
Centipede: 1½-2 inches
Fescue: 2-3 inches
Perennial Ryegrass: 2-3 inches
Zoysia: 1-2 inches
If the lawn you are to mow is from sod and not seed, wait 2-3 weeks before mowing to give it a chance to root into the soil. You can test if it’s time to mow by backing off from watering and walking on the turf. If it’s firm enough to walk on, then it’s good to mow. Gently pulling up the sod to check if it has already rooted is also another way. Remember not to cut the grass shorter than 2 inches for the first few mowings. It’s also important to be very careful while mowing so as to ensure you don’t pull up any sod though can always put it back if it as moved around.
Don’t bother removing grass clippings from your lawn.
Leave grass clippings on the lawn after mowing. These clippings break down quickly returning beneficial nutrients to your soil. Mowing enough will ensure you won’t remove too much grass blades at ones as well as ensuring clippings are small.
Cutting too much of the grass blades would likely shock the grass, and will leave piles of long clippings on the lawn that will not break down easily and will smother growing grass.
Keep the mower blades sharp.
Dull blades tend to tear up grass which will cause ragged brown edges. Using dull blades regularly will weaken your grass over time making it susceptible to disease, insect damage and other stresses like heat and drought. Tune up and sharpen your mower blade at least once a year to ensure your mower make cleaner cuts. Try to also ensure you slice your clippings without bogging down the mower blades and wash your mower after every use to help prevent blockages inside the mower.
Final lawn care reminders:
- Always push a push mower in a forward direction.
- Don’t wear sandals or flip-flops when mowing.
- Be on the look for kids or pets nearby.
- Wear sunglasses or any covering to protect your eyes from debris shoot-ups.
- Move side to side instead of up and down if mowing on a slope. This is to prevent you from slipping.