Mowing the lawn seems simple enough – it grows, you mow. You may be surprised to learn that there’s a lot more to mowing a lawn than removing inches. In fact, the way you mow your lawn has a big impact on its overall health. If done correctly, mowing can prevent weeds, encourage new growth, and even make your lawn look better over time. If done wrong, mowing can stress your grass into looking lax instead of lush.
Luckily, a few simple steps can help you mow like a pro. Before you dust off your mower for the spring season, take note of these 7 tips to mow your way to a healthier lawn.
Mow when grass is dry. Wet grass causes a number of problems for a healthy mow. First, wet grass has a tendency to bend and clump together. This makes it difficult to get an even cut and creates thick, matted clippings that can suffocate your lawn and clog your mower. You also run the risk of creating wheel ruts as you mow thanks to the soggy soil underneath a saturated lawn. Avoid these problems by waiting until the grass is dry to mow.
Mow High. Avoid the temptation of lowering your blades to lengthen the time between mows. Grass that is cut too short exposes the soil, making your lawn vulnerable to disease, drought, and weed infestation. Instead, mow with your deck raised to the highest setting. This keeps your grass thick and healthy and is the best way to keep your lawn weed-free without the need for chemical pesticides.
Mow Often. When you mow high, you’ll need to mow more often. This actually benefits your lawn health, as it ensures you aren’t shocking the grass by cutting off too much of the grass blade when you mow. It also helps you follow the industry-wide ⅓ rule, which states you should never cut more than ⅓ of your grass blades’ height during a single mowing.
How often you should mow depends on a number of factors like your grass type and the current season, but every 5-7 days is a good general rule. Avoid going more than 14 days between mows if at all possible.
Alternate mowing patterns. Avoid mowing in the same pattern week after week. When grass is mowed in the same direction over and over, you risk compacting the soil and creating tire ruts. You’re also training your grass to grow in one direction, as the way you cut is the way it leans.
Instead, alternate your direction and pattern every other mow. Cut North to South one week, and East to West the next.
Keep blades sharp. A dull blade tears your grass, leaving ragged edges that make your lawn susceptible to insects, fungi, and other pests. Sharp blades cut cleanly, protecting the blades from invaders and allowing the plant to recover more quickly. A sharp blade will also lessen wear-and-tear on your mower and keeps you from having to make multiple passes to finish the job. A healthy lawn and less time on the mower? Win-Win.
Leave the clippings. Leaving grass clippings on the lawn isn’t only great for your grass, it’s also great for your wallet. That’s because grass clippings act as a natural fertilizer, returning up 25% of your lawn’s nutritional needs back to the soil. This saves you time (no more bagging and dragging), money (less expensive fertilizer), and makes your lawn lush and lovely.
Keep your mower clean. After each use, spend a few minutes washing your lawn mower – especially underneath the deck. This will help prevent the transfer of weed seeds from one area of the lawn to the other and extend the life of your mower.
Following these tips can help you mow your way to the best lawn on the block. Of course, you can always leave your lawn care to the professionals at Chad’s Landscape Management! We go beyond the mow to provide total landscape maintenance that keeps your lawn in optimal health and beauty. Contact us today!