The importance of lawn mowing is often overlooked. The truth of the matter is, understanding how to mow your Rhode Island lawn properly will make it healthier and more attractive. Of course, New England weather has its own challenges, but that’s exactly why Lawn Love provides a variety of services such as:
- Lawn Mowing
- Lawn Fertilization
- Lawn Aeration
- Weed Control
- Lawn Seeding
- Yard Clean Up
- Leaf Removal
- Gutter Cleaning
- Snow Removal
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Some of the most important factors you should consider to maintain your lawn’s health through mowing are ideal mowing height, mowing frequency, blade sharpness, and whether to mulch or bag your clippings. Here are Lawn Love’s best mowing tips to help you cover all your Rhode Island lawn mowing bases!
What Kind of Grass Do You Have?
In Rhode Island, there are several types of grass that thrive. You may have one or a mixture of these popular grass types:
- Kentucky Bluegrass
- Tall Fescue
- Fine Leaf Fescue
All these grass types are what is referred to as cool-season grasses. That means they thrive in cooler temperatures – which makes sense for the New England climate. If you need help identifying the types of grasses growing in your lawn, this identification tool can help.
Ideal Mowing Height
Now that the type of grass or grasses you have a name, their ideal mowing heights can be explored. Mowing height is one of the most vital issues to keeping your lawn robust and healthy. The ideal mowing heights for common Rhode Island grasses are:
- Ryegrass – 2.0 to 2.5 inches
- Kentucky Bluegrass – 2.5 to 3.0 inches
- Tall Fescue – 3.0 to 3.5 inches
- Fine Leaf Fescue – 3.0 to 3.5 inches
The weather will likely be the biggest factor when determining how often you should mow your Rhode Island lawn. In temperatures above 60 degrees Fahrenheit, but under 80 degrees, the grass in your lawn will likely grow rapidly. When the season is at its hottest, growth may slow down. How often you mow depends on how fast the grass is growing, so you have to let the lawn be your guide. Mowing on a regular schedule simply won’t work because your risk either cutting the lawn too low when it’s not growing fast or you may let the lawn grow too much.
What’s so bad about letting the grass get a little long? Well, keep in mind that one of the most important rules of mowing is never to cut off more than one-third of the grass blade at a time. If you go too long between mows and your grass is higher than usual, you may be tempted to cut it all at once to its ideal height. Doing so will damage your lawn and make it more susceptible to environmental stressors such as drought, weeds, pests, and disease.
Cutting the lawn as needed will help you keep it close to its ideal height, which means your lawn will grow thick and healthy all season long.
Your Mower’s Blade
Caring for your lawn mower requires regular maintenance – just like your car. One thing overlooked by a lot of homeowners is the sharpness of the mowing blade.
A sharp mower blade slices the grass gracefully, putting less stress on your lawn and helping it to look nice. But a dull blade tears the grass, causing water loss that stresses the lawn and can lead to discoloration. It will also make it more susceptible to the disease, drought, pests, and weeds.
Keep your mower blade sharp by taking it to a professional at least once a year or filing it down yourself regularly. You should always have two sets of mower blades on hand, so you can make sure you’ve always got the sharpest ones on your mower.
What to Do with Lawn Clippings
Grass clippings can create a lot of controversy. Should you leave them, or should you bag them up? If you’re mowing your lawn as frequently as you should, then the light layer of lawn clippings left behind is good for the health of your lawn. They decompose quickly and return vital nutrients back to the soil. Leaving the clippings alone helps to save you time and ultimately money -- and they won’t contribute to thatch problems in your lawn either.
One More Thing
Another important fact about mowing is that to do it right, you must change course. Mowing your lawn in the same direction and pattern each and every time isn’t healthy. It can cause your grass to lean in one direction and the tires of your mower can crush the grass, contributing to poor overall lawn health and a lot that doesn’t look so hot. Add some variety to your mower pattern – you don’t have to go crazy but changing it up each time you mow is recommended.
Lawn mowing is a little more complicated than it seems at first glance but since it’s one of the most important practices in lawn care, it pays to do it right. If you need help or advice on properly mowing your lawn, Lawn Love is always here to help!