Valuable Mowing Tips for a Healthy Lawn
Don’t let the weeds win! Use these essential lawn mowing tips to grow a healthy, lush lawn your neighbors will envy.
While mowing seems like a simple task, in actuality each time you mow you either encourage your lawn’s success or failure. If you cut your grass correctly, you’ll groom a healthy, drought-tolerant lawn that will grow in thick and crowd out weeds. If you mow incorrectly, your lawn will suffer and struggle for survival. The key is to time mowings so that you are never cutting more than a third of the grass height with each cutting.
Avoid scalping your lawn (cutting the grass too short) at all costs. Vulnerable to diseases and weed infestation, scalped lawns tend to be weak and sparse. Not only does this expose soil, which allows weeds to take root, it also allows sunlight reach the weed seedlings. Consistently scalped grass has underdeveloped root systems, which makes the lawn more prone to serious damage from extreme temperatures or drought.
It is important to adjust your mower height throughout the lawn’s growing season. Shift the cutting deck higher in summer to allow the grass to grow longer. Taller grass slows water evaporation from soil and prevents weed growth by shading the soil. It also develops deeper roots, which creates a drought-resistant lawn. For areas that get snow in the winter, lower the cutting deck in late autumn for the last mowing of the season. This will help prevent the formation of snow mold on the grass.
Sharp Mower Blade
To achieve the best results from each mowing, keep your mower blade sharp. Sharp blades result in evenly cut grass, while dull blades tear grass, leaving them with a jagged edge. Lawns cut with dull blades often develop a white or brown color as the tips of the individual blades of grass start dying. Mower blades ideally should be sharpened at least a few times during the mowing season. Savvy homeowners sometimes purchase an extra mower blade so they always have a sharp blade on hand.
Mowing Shaded Areas
Use a higher mowing height for lawns growing in shady areas. Longer grass blades provide a greater surface area for conducting photosynthesis. This is a great benefit in low-light situations, and key to growing a healthy lawn in the shade.
Mow When Dry
While mowing a wet lawn doesn’t hurt the grass, it definitely doesn’t produce the best results. It is ideal to mow when grass is dry. Wet grass is inclined to fill and clog your mower deck, and has a tendency to clump together as you mow, producing an uneven cut. If you must mow damp or wet grass, be sure to remove the wet clumps of grass that fall off the mower onto the lawn. Those clumps can kill grass. Also, consider spraying the underside of your mower with silicone or oil to prevent grass from sticking. Never mow in soggy soil or you will create wheel ruts and tear up your grass.
Avoid the Heat of the Day
Much like pruning plants or trees, mowing creates a lot of stress for grass. That’s why it’s important to choose the best time of day to mow. Mowing during the heat of the day causes individual grass plants to lose more water and recover much more slowly than if the mowing is done during a cooler part of the day. You could also wait until the lawn is shaded to mow. Shaded grass loses less water when cut and rebounds quicker.
Change up the direction and mowing pattern each time you mow to avoid compacting soil and creating ruts. Weeds thrive in compacted soil and both of these conditions lead to grass that is less healthy.