How To Mow Like a Pro: The Dos and Don’ts of Lawn Mowing
Taking pride in a beautiful, lush green lawn is somewhat of an American tradition. With so many great tools and toys on offer to help you keep your mowing game strong, it helps to know the best ways to use them. It may seem a pretty simple task, trimming the grass, but there is actually a lot of science behind it. Professional-grade lawn mowing is easily achievable if you stick to a few golden rules. Here are some tips and tricks on how to keep your grass looking great.
I. Keep the Blades Sharp
Any good chef can tell you that a blunt blade makes rough work. The same applies to trimming the lawn. Grass, like people, doesn’t do well when it is stressed, and blunt blades are very harsh. A clean cut is better for your lawn and is less likely to spread bacteria or mold into the atmosphere. Three times per year is a good benchmark for having your blades sharpened professionally or swapped out, depending on the type of lawnmower you have. You can also sharpen them yourself in between for peak performance.
II. Some Length Is Good
The rule of thumb is never to cut more than one-third of the total grass length off in one go. If you leave it a little too long and need to cut more, do it in two rounds. Cutting too much length off in one round weakens the structure of the grass and irreparable damages it.
Double cutting is a good thing and is far better than overcutting. Although it may take a little more time on the day, it saves a lot of work in the long run. Buying a machine with adjustable cutting height is highly beneficial if you want to mow like a pro.
III. Grass Clippings Are Your Friends
Some people are in the habit of attaching a collecting bag to their lawnmower every time they mow. Clipping-free, freshly mowed grass does look satisfying, but those clippings are actually great for the health of your lawn. They are packed full of nutrients that boost the soil and feed the growing shoots.
Using grass cuttings to feed your soil is known as mulching- a must-do to keep it healthy and strong. Instead of bagging the clippings every time and mulching separately, leave them where they lie! If you follow the one-third rule and you mow regularly, there shouldn’t be a problem.
If it has been a while since you mowed and the grass is extra long, then a collecting bag is a good idea. Long clippings are more difficult for the ground to absorb, and they could smother the growing grass. You can then use a mulching kit to prepare them if you so desire.
IV. Mix Up the Cutting Direction and Pattern
Patterns are the final touch on any professional-grade lawn. Even if you don’t intend to mow lines into the grass, you should still change the direction regularly. There are two reasons for this.
First of all, mowing in a different direction every time you tackle the job helps ensure a more even cut over time. Secondly, lawnmowers are heavy. The wheels can leave ruts and compact the soil if you constantly go over the same area. Grass does not do well in compacted soil- but weeds thrive in it!
Cutting pattern lines is very simple but takes your lawn to the next level. It looks good and tells everyone around you that you put effort into your home maintenance. Achieving this professional look is as simple as walking in a straight line.
Focus on an object ahead rather than on the ground to make it easier. Walk from end to end, pivot the machine, and walk down the net section. Keep going until you reach the finish line! It is a good idea to give the whole lawn a once-over before cutting lines. Change the settings and do a second round to make the pattern.
V. Cut for the Season
Do you have all the same habits in winter as you do in summer? Probably not. In areas where the seasonal difference is profound, it is unrealistic to think the same routine can work at both times of the year. Grass also has a different set of requirements, and understanding them is essential for that boast-worthy lawn.
We all spend more time in the garden during summer, and the chances are to trim the grass more often. That is fine, as long as you are still leaving enough length. Hot weather can dry out the ground and make anything struggle to grow, so long, well-mulched grass is a must.
In winter, however, long grass has lots more fighting to do against the cold and wind. Trim your grass far shorter than you normally would at the beginning of winter (around two inches) but do it in two or three rounds. Short grass allows more air to flow, keeps the grass free of mildew and moss, and is easier to maintain in bad weather.
Biggest Don’ts of Lawn Mowing
As much as knowing what you should do to keep your lawn in tip-top condition, you should also be aware of the cardinal sins, according to people who know best. Here are a few things NOT to do if you want a healthy, happy lawn.
Scalping the Grass
Cutting your grass is about keeping it under control- not shaved down to the root. Over-trimming the lawn leaves the roots exposed and the system under-developed. When this happens, grass has a much harder time surviving hot summers or draughts. It is also more prone to weeds and is going to be a lot of trouble to get back to a good condition.
Mowing Wet Grass
While mowing the lawn when it is wet doesn’t do too much harm to the grass itself, it can cause a lot of headaches- and the odd slip and fall. Wet grass can easily clump up and get stuck in the machine, not to mention the extra mess. You are also likely to leave ruts in the grass where the wheels have been and potentially churn up the routes.
Cutting in the Sun
A glorious sunny day may seem like the perfect opportunity to pull the lawnmower out, but make sure you wait until the cooler part of the day or when some shade comes in. Hot weather dries out the grass and makes the recovery time longer.
The Bottom Line
With a little TLC, any lawn can look good. If time and effort went into growing it, then it’s worth taking proper care of. When it comes to mowing the grass, it is all about working smarter rather than harder.
A good machine with a choice of adjustable settings goes a long way, but it is nothing without a little bit of extra attention from you. Stick to these “do and don’t” rules to make sure the grass is always greener on your side of the fence.