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Mowing your grass has become a part of most lawn owners weekly chore list. Lawn mowing is the most common practice in lawn care. Lawn mowing is also the most frequently done landscaping practice. It typically takes just 30 minutes to mow the average home lawn (10,000 square feet), which is time that adds up. While lawn mowing may seem simple, every time you cut your grass, you are either one step closer to lush and healthy looking grass or crippling its chances of survival. Proper mowing doesn’t give your lawn an attractive appearance, it also increases the density of your grass. When done correctly, you will groom healthy, strong, and drought tolerant grass. Improper lawn mowing can open your lawn up to environmental stresses, making it challenging for your lawn to flourish.

What is Lawn Mowing?

Lawn Mowing is the periodic cutting of a turfgrass lawn to a specified height. Like other green plants, Turfgrasses go through the process of photosynthesis in order to grow and prosper. Lawn mowing that is too close reduces the amount of leaf area available for photosynthesis and become less tolerant to environmental stresses. This can make your turf more prone to weed invasion in turn may reduce plant strength. Although it’s possible to successfully maintain a closely cut lawn, the shorter root system will result in a need for more frequent watering and fertilization to compensate for reduced ability to obtain water and nutrients from the soil. Therefore, it is desirable to maintain your lawn at the highest cutting height that looks good and is acceptable for the intended use of the turf. For most lawns, a cutting height of 2 to 3 inches is best.

When To Mow Your Lawn

It’s best to mow early in the morning or in the evening. This is because mowing during the middle of the day where temperatures are at their highest can cause the plant to go into shock. It is also recommended to mow when your grass is dry. Dry grass allows your lawn mowers to function better as well as minimize disease exposure that can spread from plant to plant.

How to Mow Your Lawn

Mow your lawn using the one-third rule. The one-third rule says that you should never remove more than one-third of the leaf blade during any one lawn mowing. For example, if the recommended mowing height for a turfgrass is 2 inches, the height of the grass should not exceed 3 inches before it is mowed back to 2 inches.

Why? Turfgrasses, like other green plants, provide themselves with the necessary nutrients to grow through the process of photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process by which green plants and certain other organisms transform light energy (sun) into chemical energy. During photosynthesis in green plants, light energy is captured and utilized to convert water, carbon dioxide, and minerals into oxygen and energy-rich organic compounds.

When over one-third of the leaf blade is removed during the mowing process, there is significantly less surface area remaining to absorb the light energy to allow the process of photosynthesis to continue. Therefore, the green plant will produce less food for itself, resulting in a less healthy plant that is susceptible to insect damage and disease. Overcutting weakens the grass and also inhibits the growth of the roots, leading to the creation of a small, shallow root system. During the dry season, shallow roots can dry out which leads to the inevitable death of the plant or grass. Large root systems below ground allow grass to grow tall and healthy and can withstand the dry, summer months.

Lawn Mowing Tips

  • Select An Appropriate Mowing Height. Generally speaking, the appropriate mowing height is two to three inches. Set the blade to the correct height of cut and mow frequently enough so you cut off no more than the top third of the grass plant. This will encourage stronger and healthier roots.
  • Don’t Cut Too Short. Cutting your lawn too short can cause your lawn to lose moisture at a more rapid pace and fosters an environment for weed and disease infestation.
  • Keep the Lawn Mower Blades Sharp. Sharp blades need to produce a clean, even cut because unsharpened blades have a tendency of ripping the grass tissue. Torn grass tissue results in a tan or brown cast to the lawn. The ripping also creates a breeding ground for disease and other issues.
  • Leave Grass Clippings on Your Lawn. This process is called mulching, grasscycling, or recycling. Grass clippings can reduce your need for fertilizer as much as 25% because they are full of essential nutrients. Grass clippings break down easily and cause issues only if there is an excessive amount.
  • Change Directions. Mowing causes the grass to lie over slightly, causing mowing patterns to develop. It’s important alternate directions with each mowing to avoid the grass to lie over. Changing directions also reduces compaction and wear.

Choose The Ideal Mower

The correct lawnmower for your grass will provide a clean cut, every time. There are several factors to consider when choosing the best mower for you.

A push mower or walk-behind mower is ideal on 1/2 acre or less. Push Mower varieties include:

  • Manual reel mower: Manual push mowers are environmentally friendly and quiet. This is a good choice for small, flat lawns.
  • Electric mower: Corded and cordless (battery-operated) electric mowers are less noisy than gas mowers and great for small yards. Corded mowers require access to an electrical outlet, and battery-operated types may require a re-charge mid-mow. Cordless mowers charge times will vary by battery and charger, ranging from 30 minutes to a few hours.
  • Gas-Powered Push Mower: Ideal for medium-sized lawns, gas mowers are the conventional option for yards up to 1/2 acre in size. A gas mower is more powerful and easier to maneuver than manual and electric options and provide more power. Most crank with a pull start, but some feature an electric starter that eliminates the need to use the pull cord. Keep in mind, you will need the correct fuel.
  • Mulching Mower: Mulching mowers cut and drop grass clippings to the ground as you mow. They have a handful of benefits, including increasing the addition of nutrients and disbursement of beneficial microorganisms into the soil.

A riding mower is good for a yard a 1/2 acre or larger. Riding mower varieties include:

  • Riding Mower: For large or sloped lawns, a riding mower or lawn tractor is the best option for large and/or sloped lawn because they allow you to get a big job done quickly.

Contact Our Lawn Love Experts

Are you ready to have a lawn your neighbors are green with envy over? Call our lawn care experts today for a free estimate. We understand that each customer and their lawn has different needs and therefore requires different care. Let Lawn Love put together a customizable and comprehensive solution for your landscape!


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