Mowing the grass is so simple – so common – that most homeowners do it without a second thought. But like many other chores that we take for granted, good technique is important. In fact, the way in which you cut your lawn can make the difference between having a lush, green and healthy yard or one a sickly, weed-filled ragged one.
So, if you are looking for ways to improve the appearance of your lawn, check out these grass cutting tips to see if there are any mowing techniques that you can improve upon.
- No buzz cuts! They may be popular in the military, but they’re no good for your lawn. Cutting your grass to short (called scalping) can lead to a number of problems including poor root development, exposed soil and more weeds. Cut the grass at 3” for optimum disease resistance and water retention.
- Keep your blade sharp. Two or three times each mowing season, you should take the time to sharpen your mower blade. The sharper the blade is, the cleaner it will cut through your grass. But when the blade is dull, it has the tendency to tear rather than make a clean cut. These tears can be an invitation for pests and disease to invade your healthy grass. Furthermore, grass that has been torn will often turn white or brownish at the tips making your entire yard appear sickly.
- Adjust your mower height. Depending on where you are mowing or the time of year, you’ll want to adjust your mower height accordingly. For example, leaving grass a little longer during the hottest months of the year will allow the soil below to retain more of its moisture. Also, if you are mowing in a shady area, leaving grass a little longer can help with photosynthesis. At the end of the season, cut grass a little shorter to help prevent snow mold.
- Avoid mowing when lawn is wet. While wet mowing doesn’t physically harm your grass, it can lead to an uneven cut as blades of grass sag under the weight of the water. If the soil is soggy, then mowing can actually cause ruts in the grass, leaving an unsightly appearance.
- Mow during cooler temperatures. Every time you cut your grass you’re putting stress on it. To cause less stress, avoid mowing in the heat of the day when your grass will lose more moisture and take longer to recover. Instead mow during the morning or evening when it will be easier for your lawn to rebound.
- Did you know that by leaving grass clippings on your lawn, you are providing it with up to 25% of the fertilizer that it needs? Why not save yourself the work of raking and bagging and do your lawn a favour at the same time. Grasscycling does not require any special equipment although you may wish to change your regular mowing blade to a mulching blade which will leave behind smaller clippings.
- Change up your pattern. We humans tend to be creatures of habit, but you should get out of the habit of always mowing your lawn in the same pattern. Constantly following the same pattern can lead to having ruts in your lawn and compacting the soil underneath. It’s important to avoid doing this because it can negatively affect the health of your grass and create an environment where weeds can thrive.
Having a healthy lawn is possible – and the solution for your own lawn may be as simple as the way you mow it. You can also opt to work with a lawn care program to keep a green healthy lawn year round.