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Lawn Care 101

How to mow a lawn

4 min read

As a homeowner, there are many things that you will be responsible for maintaining. One of these things will be your lawn. Mowing your grass on a consistent basis is a way to not only promote the growth of your lawn, but keep it in top physical condition. Here is how to mow a lawn the proper way.

Sharp blades

Mowing with a dull blade is the most common mistake that someone can make when mowing their lawn. Unfortunately, this mistake can also prove to be the most consequential because of what mowing with a dull blade does to your grass. A dull blade does not cut your grass. Rather, it gets manually torn apart. When the grass is torn, you are essentially pulling it from the roots and the uncut parts of the grass are affected as a result.

Therefore, regardless of whether or not you are using a riding mower or a push mower, you need to ensure that your blades are sharp. There are also some safety maintenance tips to keep in mind when mowing your lawn. First, when you are removing your blade, you should always remove the spark plug because you could preemptively start the engine.

After that, you can use a bench grinder or a metal file to sharpen the blade even more. You may want to consider getting a professional to handle this part.

Perfectly striped lawn

Cut a little at a time

When you are cutting the grass, you only want to cut a little at a time. The rule of thumb is no more than a third of the length of the grass so you don't strain the grass itself. In fact, whenever you mow a lawn, you want to cut as little as possible. Certain athletic fields and golf courses are cut multiple times per week. This is because the grass becomes greener and stronger due to the decreased stress of having it cut down to size frequently. For taller grass, you'll want to gradually stagger how much you cut and gradually mow it shorter over time as opposed to taking a huge chunk off at once.

However, everyone's grass type is different and will require different maintenance depending on the grass type. Therefore, you will want to look up the proper height of mowing for your grass. Your local turfgrass extension should have this information handy. In addition, your lawn will grow faster if you apply fertilizer and water more often. Another practice that can help you is gradually switching up your mowing style.

Alternate your patterns

If you want to understand how to mow a lawn correctly, you'll also have to learn how to alternate your patterns accordingly. There are really only two distinct patterns that you should be concerned about. The first pattern is the back and forth motion. This is when you start at one side and mow until you reach the other side.

The second pattern is more of a circular motion. Usually, this is done in areas with oddly shaped yards or trees with centralized flowerbeds. This pattern sees you mowing in a circle and working your way inward or outward depending on the situation. No matter the pattern you decide to use, you need to alternate where you go.

For example if you like to start left and work your way over to the right, try starting right and mowing left. In a similar manner, you can try starting to work your way outside of a circle as opposed to working inward.

You should understand that when a blade goes across the grass, it will knock it down gradually and it will start to lean a specific direction after consistent mowing. By alternating your patterns, you can help prevent your grass from swaying one way and have it remain in a vertical position. The next thing you'll want to consider is a specific kind of blade to cut with.

Man mowing grass on farm

Use a mulching blade and leave your clippings behind

Mulching blades are a unique kind of mower blade that is designed to chop grass clippings so that they can disintegrate into the lawn and provide fertilizer. Grass clippings can serve as a great supplement to the fertilizer you should already be applying onto your lawn. There is also no need to worry about seeing the grass clippings because they will practically appear invisible assuming the grass you have isn't too long or wet. You could always decide to bag and recycle grass clippings if it looks too messy to you. However, it’s a lot of work to bag these clippings up and they are actually good for the roots.

Other suggestions

First, you never want to mow grass that is wet. When you try to cut damp grass, the result is a tear instead of a clean cut. This can open the door for fungus and disease spread. There may also be unevenness due to the slippery surface that you have with a wet lawn. If you have morning dew, the time of the day you mow your lawn also matters.

You will also want to mow over your clippings as this results in a finer cut and translates into a faster decomposition process. Don't forget to alternate your patterns when going about this for an even consistency.

Mowing grass doesn't have to be hard, and by following these simple tips, you will see an instant difference in front of your house.

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