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Lawn Mowing Tips

The lawn mowing tips below will make a huge difference in the health and appearance of your lawn.

Lawn Mowing Tips

1. Mow often.  In the spring mow your lawn twice a week to keep up with growth.

2. Remove 1/3 or less of the grass-blade when mowing.  Removing 1/3 or less of the grass-blade minimizes stress on your lawn.

If your lawn is overgrown raise the mower 2-3 notches before mowing.  A few days later mow at the proper height to decrease stress.  The worst thing you can do to an overgrown lawn is scalp it like a hay-field.

3. Mow high.  Set your mower at 2.5″ for the first mowing of the season.  Mowing lower the first cut helps grind up winter debris.

Raise the mower a notch each mowing until you reach 3.5 – 4″.  Tall grass means deeper roots that reach into the soil for moisture.  Tall grass also shades out weeds such as crabgrass and chickweed.

Lower your mower a notch at a time as leaf cleanup season arrives.

4. Keep mower blades sharp. Grass cut with a sharp blade cleanly cuts the grass-blade.  Grass cut with a dull blade tears the grass-blade.

 You can tell how sharp a mower blade is by looking at the lawn from a distance.  If you see a brown cast the blades are dull.

Start the season with a sharp mower blade.  After the first few cuts, sharpen the blade again.  Mower blades often gets nicked or dulled the first few cuts of the season.  Then, sharpen your mower blade half way through the season.

Keep two sets of mower blades so you have a sharp blade available when you need one.

Lawn Mowing Tips Picture

5. Leave clippings on the lawn.  Grass clippings return much-needed nitrogen to your lawn.  Some people believe grass clippings create thatch.  They don’t. Over fertilizing lawns kills microbes that break down thatch.  Removing more than 1/3 of the grass-blade creates more thatch than microbes can break down.

6. Mow late in the afternoon.  The cooler temperatures and higher humidity during the night reduce stress from mowing.

7. Mow when grass is dry.  Mowing wet grass encourages the spread of disease.  Mowing wet grass also pushes grass over leaving a ragged cut.  Finally, mowing wet grass leaves unsightly clumps that make a mess of everything.  Wait for you lawn to dry before mowing.

8. Alternate mowing patterns.  Mow your lawn in a different direction weekly to prevent pushing grass-blades over and prevent ruts.  Alternate mowing direction at 90 and 45 degree angles .

Lawn Mowing Tips - Lawn Mowing Angles Graphic
Vary the direction you mow weekly by alternating between perpendicular and angular patterns.

9. Use a mulching blade.   Mulching mower blades cut clippings into fine pieces before leaving the mower deck.  This is the only type of mower blade I recommend.

The lawn mowing tips above take a little extra effort from your mowing crew or the designated mower of the house (You know who you are).  While it’s OK to break the rules once in a while the closer you can come to them the better your lawn will look.

Happy mowing!

Published by

John Holden

I've spent my life honing my landscape design and installation skills and would like to share them with you. I've worked in Fairfield County, Connecticut for over 22 years and counting. I earned a Bachelors degree in Horticulture from the University of Connecticut.

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