It seems like a pretty straightforward task doesn’t it? Turn on the mower, and push it back and forth over your lawn until the grass is shorter and looks nicer than it did when you started… only it’s not quite as simple as that.
It turns out that there are actual guidelines for mowing your lawn, and knowing and following them could result in, well, quite a different result.
We’ve outlined a few of the more important ones, so that you can start implementing best practice when the dreaded mowing time comes around.
The 1/3 rule
Never take more than 1/3 of the length of the grass at any one time. Cutting too close to the earth can result in a brown lawn, along with increased vulnerability to pests/disease, risk of soil compaction, and an increase in the chance of weeds germinating.
Pick your time carefully
The time at which you mow your lawn is important. You should avoid mowing when the day is at its hottest due to the risk of heat stress on both you and your lawn. However that being said, you also shouldn’t mow too early or too late in the day, as the grass will most likely be damp from dew. Mowing damp or wet grass can result in the cuttings clumping, which isn’t good for the mower blades or your lawn.
Take your time
Mowing can be a sweaty and unpleasant exercise, but don’t rush it. Mowing over grass too fast can result in uneven patches on your lawn, and leave behind clumps of barely-mulched clippings.
Don’t get into a rut
The grass on your lawn will, after a few mowing sessions, begin to grow and lean towards the direction that you mow it in. So it’s important that you occasionally change up the direction in which you mow.
Take extreme weather into consideration
If it’s been particularly arid lately and your grass appears to not be doing too well, you might want to consider mowing it higher and less often. It’ll probably be growing slower, and be more susceptible to damage, so be gentle with it. Same goes for harsh winter conditions, which may also slow the growth and reparative capabilities of your lawn.
If your mower has a detachable clipping catcher, take it off before you start mowing. Most mowers these days function in a way that results in clippings being ejected out of the sides of the mower after the blades have cut them up to be incredibly fine. The clippings end up back on the lawn, but as unsightly as that might sound, putting the clippings back into the turf provides great nutrition for the growing grass, returning nutrients like nitrogen back to the soil.
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