For the average home, lawn mowing takes just about 30 minutes per week. If homeowners mow regularly throughout the active growing season (about a seven-month period), this translates into just 11 hours of work per year.
What seems like a minimal time investment can significantly impact your lawn. While the cosmetic benefits of a well-manicured lawn are more obvious, lawn mowing also helps prevent pests and disease that tend to thrive in long, unkempt grass and better distributes nutrients from the sun and water to individual grass blades.
Mowing grass may seem so simple that no one thinks there’s a wrong way to do it. But there are a few small things homeowners may forget that can make a huge difference. That’s why we’ve put together this list of lawn mowing tips to steer you in the right direction.
When a dull mower blade runs across grass, the effect is similar to that of a dull razor. Just as your skin is more likely to experience nicks and cuts that leave room for infection, your grass blades are pulled and left with jagged, torn ends. After a few days, these ends can turn brown and create a breeding ground for pests and disease.
By sharpening your mower blades—the first of our lawn mowing tips—you can ensure a clean cut that allows grass to quickly recover without added stress. (Not to mention, a sharp blade will also place less stress on the mower and prevent clogs in the machine.)
This step-by-step video provides a helpful breakdown of how to sharpen mower blades.
When homeowners mow their lawn short to recreate the look of crisp golf green, what they often don’t realize is the specialized equipment (i.e., reel mowers and computerized irrigation systems) it takes to maintain these highly artificial lawns. That’s why 1-2 inch grass only adds beauty to residential lawns for a short window. If your lawn is continuously cut short enough that you expose its stems, what’s known as scalping, its energy reserves will be depleted and the area will be more susceptible to weed invasion and other damage.
Raising the height of your mower—the second of our lawn mowing tips—helps establish a healthier, more attractive lawn that lasts year round. We can attribute this back to the fact that longer grass has more extensive root systems that act as a layer of defense against stress and that dense grass blades are better able to crowd out weeds.
If you’re looking for guidance on how to adjust your mower height (with seasonal tips), check out this video.
While most changes to lawn care routines are based on seasonal shifts, there are other ways variety can bring advantages. Consider the pattern in which you mow. Cutting grass in the same direction every time can compact soil into ruts and cause grass blades to lean in the direction they are mowed, appearing flattened and compressed.
That leads us to our third lawn mowing tip: shaking up your mowing pattern.
Not only will a mix of patterns give your soil more room to breathe, improve rainwater flow and enhance the appearance of your lawn, but it will also enable weaker areas of grass to recover from the weight of the mower.
Many homeowners are in the rhythm of bagging grass clippings after they mow their lawn. But with this habit comes a missed opportunity to boost lawn health. That’s because these clippings, comprised mostly of water with a high composition rate, contain some of the same nutrients as those found in lawn food (although in smaller amounts). In other words, they act as free food for your lawn.
That’s why we advise you to leave grass clippings on your lawn—the fourth (and last) of our lawn mowing tips. Based on their composition, the clippings can contribute to the nutritional content of your lawn (i.e., nitrogen and potassium) without causing thatch build-up that is common with other plant materials.
While mowing may seem like the most straightforward of lawn care tasks, it comes with plenty of intricacies that shape its effectiveness. By weaving these lawn mowing tips into your routine, you’re sure to see your outdoor space take on a whole new look and feel, with positive results that last throughout the year.
With years of experience in lawn and landscape maintenance, Green Impressions knows what it takes to keep lawns in the best shape. If you are interested in learning more about how we can help maintain your residential lawn, request a free consultation today.