Lawn Mowing Tips – How to Mow Your Lawn

Lawn Mowing Tips – How to Mow Your Lawn

A good lawn is the backbone of any yard’s overall appearance. And while many people consider lawn care to be a simple task, a truly beautiful and healthy lawn can only be achieved using professional mowing methods. Here are a few tips and recommendations that will have you taking care of your lawn as good as the pros.

“While keeping your lawn looking its best sounds like a piece of cake, it can be quite complicated. From knowing when to water and for how long to fertilizing and mowing at the right time, your grass requires time and attention.”

How to Mow a Lawn Professionally

If you live in a part of the country with all four seasons, then you need to understand how to adjust your lawn care methods to match your lawn’s seasonal trends. When early spring arrives, set your lawn mower to the highest setting and try to cut the grass when it’s dry. Later in the spring as the weather starts to warm, your grass will start to grow more quickly. This means that you’ll need to increase the frequency of your mowing to about every two weeks. As spring marches on, you’ll need to mow every 10 days or so, and then weekly. In May and June, you can lower your cutting height to around 1.5 inches, but don’t go lower than that because you’ll be causing yourself more work than what’s necessary.

Once the summer months arrive, your grass starts to grow slower. However, you should still plan to mow your grass at least every two weeks. If the weather becomes excessively hot and dry, then raise the cutting height of the mower. If the moisture levels stay pretty even, then you can keep the cutting height lower. If it rains a lot, you may need to continue mowing frequently right into August and September. Also, if you increased the mowing height in July, then you can lower it down for August and September unless your grass is prone to developing moss. If it is, then keep the height on the high side. Raise the height of the cut back up in October because this is when your mowing will start to wrap up for the year.

The Positive and Negative Effects of Lawn Mowing

Understanding the positive and negative effects of lawn mowing will help you keep your lawn looking professional. On the positive side, mowing your lawn creates natural compost. Leave the clippings on your lawn to recycle nutrients back into the soil. When you do, your lawn won’t require as much fertilizer, so this saves you money too. Clippings are also a natural mulch. They keep the underlying soil cool and moist, which prevents stress from too much sun or water. Mowing your lawn regularly also prevents weeds from taking over your yard.

The downside to mowing is that if you cut it too short, then you may cause it to develop a shallow root system. This can become a problem when summer arrives because the heat will stress your grass. Also, grass that’s too short absorbs more sunlight. Added sunlight can overheat the soil and cause it to dry out. Excessive exposure to water and sunlight in your soil leads to more weeds, which creates more work for you. By understanding the proper techniques for mowing you can prevent this from happening.

How to Cut Grass Properly

Knowing how to cut grass properly helps you keep your outdoor spaces looking their best. When it comes to how to cut grass properly, the first place to start is the lawnmower. Be sure to purchase the right one for your needs. If you have a large lawn, then you’ll want to consider investing in a riding lawn mower while a self-propelled mower is best for medium-sized spaces. If you have a small yard, then a push mower does the job just fine.

You should never mow your grass when it’s wet. Doing so can introduce it to diseases. Wet grass is also slippery, so you could injure yourself by falling. The right time to mow is late in the morning after the dew has had a chance to evaporate. It’s also best to avoid cutting it during the middle of the afternoon when the sun is beating down on it since these conditions put stress on your grass. It’s better to cut it in the evening.

What Tools are Needed for Lawn Mowing?

For a healthy lawn, you need the right tools. Make sure that you have the following equipment:

•    Gloves

•    Sprayers and spreaders

•    String trimmer

•    Lawnmower

•    Hand Trowel

•    Rake

•    Leaf blower

Quality work gloves save your hands from developing blisters. They also prevent scrapes, thorns, and cuts along with general wear and tear. When shopping for gloves, buy a pair that is comfortable, durable and fits well.

Sprayers and spreaders make feeding your lawn easier. Purchase a broadcast granular spreader. This type of tool disperses fertilizer equally.

Be sure to obtain a string trimmer. A string trimmer is an especially handy yard tool that lets you cut weeds and grass that are growing in areas that your mower is unable to reach. A quality one is flexible enough to trim around bushes, trees, fences and under decks. Consider getting one that features an adjustable head. With this feature, it is easier for you to give your lawn that manicured look.

When it comes to professional lawn care, a lawn mower is a necessity. Choose from a manual push mower to a self-propelled machine or a riding mower.

A hand trowel helps you manage small grass sections. Use it to remove weeds or dig out small sections of grass that may be coming up in undesirable areas. They come in handy when you need to remove plants from between landscaping features or sidewalks.

Rakes are long-handled tools that you’ll use to collect yard debris, spread clippings or fertilizer and dig. A good rake helps you maintain your grass.

A leaf blower is a handy tool that you’ll use to tidy up outside areas. Leaf blowers are highly efficient. Consider getting one that has a vacuum feature to collect leaves and use them as mulch.

How Often Does Your Lawn Need to Be Mowed?

How often does your lawn need to be mowed? Mowing frequency is based on how quickly your grass grows. It also depends on the type of grass you’ve decided to plant. If you fertilize your lawn regularly, then your lawn will grow faster, which means that you’ll have to mow more often. The time of year also makes a difference since your grass grows more quickly in the fall and spring months. Warm-season grass grows faster in the summer, so plan to mow more frequently at that time of the year.

Your watering technique has an impact on how often you’ll need to mow as well. Less watering means that you’ll have to mow less regularly while more water means that you’ll be mowing more.

Techniques for Getting the Best-Looking Grass

To get the best-looking grass, be sure to plant the right kind for your climate. Stop weeds before they start growing. You can do this by applying a pre-emergent herbicide. This product is formulated to manage crabgrass in addition to other hard-to-eliminate weeds by preventing them from sprouting in your lawn. Mow your lawn frequently and keep it a little long. The standard rule is to avoid cutting off more than a third of a blade of grass. Be sure to keep your mower blades nice and sharp.

Water during the morning hours. When you water in the morning, the sun dries the grass while nighttime watering causes extended moisture on your lawn. Watering at night can also encourage disease. The best watering technique is to water less frequently but water for more extended periods. Try to water long enough for the moisture to sink down a few inches.

Lawn Mowing Patterns

Lawn mowing patterns not only give your lawn a professional appearance, but they also make your lawn healthier. This is something that you can do yourself. Grass patterns may look like the grass has been cut at a different height or by planting different types of grass, but patterns show up because the light is reflecting off the grass blades at different angles. Since the grass is bent at varying angles, it reflects the sun differently, displaying the pattern you created.

If you want a pattern, mow your lawn at a taller height. Doing so gives the grass blades more bending flexibility. Short grass blades pop back upright. Even just making a slight length change can make a difference. When you change the blade length from 2 inches to 2.5 inches or from 3 inches to 3.5 inches, it can make a huge difference in the intensity of the lawn stripe pattern. Keeping it longer also means that you’ll have to mow less often.

Creating a pattern on your lawn is about direction. The angle that the grass is bent determines whether it appears as a light or dark stripe. When grass blades are angled away from you, they look like they have a lighter color. They have this appearance because the sunlight is reflecting off the full section of the grass blade. When the blades are angled toward you, they look darker. This means that when you mow your lawn in an opposing pattern, such as right/left, up/down, east/west, you are creating contrast. The amazing part is that the color of the stripe depends on where you are standing. If you move to the other side of your yard after mowing it into a pattern, the light and dark shading seem to swap places.

When you’re creating a pattern in your lawn, use hardscape elements as a guide. Driveways, sidewalks or other hardscape features are the best guides for keeping your lawn mowing lines even and straight. Lawn rollers intensify the stripe because they bend the grass even more. If you decide to take the extra step and use a lawn roller, then physically connect the roller with the grass. Striping kits are available online as are instructional videos.

How to Use a Lawn Mower

Knowing how to use a lawnmower helps you create patterns in your lawn. When it comes to lawn care, you need to know how to change the blade length and how to keep the blades sharp. If your lawnmower is gas powered, you’ll want to keep the tank full and check the oil regularly. Most people purchase a walk behind or power mower because they are efficient and affordable.

To run one, you’ll need to pull the starter handle. Also, shift the drive lever to the disengaged position when using it. While mowing, you’ll stand behind the mower with one hand managing the engine stop lever and the other holding onto the mower’s recoil starter handle. When operating your mower, don’t walk away from it when it’s running. If your lawn features any slopes, then mow it from side to side instead of up and down. Side to side is safer since you won’t risk the mower shifting back toward you as it could when you’re mowing uphill. Most walk behind mowers take you around your lawn at a comfortable pace.

If you have a big yard, then you’ll want a riding mower. These machines typically operate like a manual transmission automobile, so you’ll be using a clutch and shifting it into gear. As with a car, if you fail to give the mower enough gas when shifting, the engine will stall. When mowing with a riding unit, take slopes and turns nice and smooth. Because a riding mower is heavy, mow hills and slopes up and down instead of from side to side. A riding mower can tip.

Lawn Care is Complex

While keeping your lawn looking its best sounds like a piece of cake, it can be quite complicated. From knowing when to water and for how long to fertilizing and mowing at the right time, your grass requires time and attention. Taking care of a lawn is something that you may love or would rather outsource to someone else. Regardless of who cares for your lawn, having one that you enjoy is the goal.

Sara Butler

Sara Butler has written scores of articles for Lawn Love -- everything from how to revive your dead lawn to how to start to lawn care tools every homeowner should have.