6 Best Lawn Mowing Practices
Mowing is sometimes seen as one of the least rewarding chores. Most people mow as infrequently as they can get away with, and blast through it to get it over with. But did you know that improperly mowing your lawn could make the difference between a great lawn and a patch of lettuce? Yes, there’s a science to when you mow and how you mow to achieve that healthy, lush turf!
How do you know you’re mowing properly? Check out our tips below for the best mowing practices.
Adjust Your Mower Height
Start by adjusting your mower height to consider the season. You should start the season at around 3”, and raise it one notch around memorial day, and another around independence day. Longer grass blades are able to store more water and nutrients, making your lawn more tolerable to heat and drought stress in the summer. The taller your grass, the more you will shade out weeds which need sunlight to grow. So keeping your lawn on the longer side is also a great weed control tactic.
As the weather cools off, you can move your mower height back down. If you stick to the holidays (bonus - this also makes it really easy to remember) you can lower your deck by one notch on labor day, and then another on columbus day, and you’ll end the season at the same height you started.
Regardless of the height you set your mower, a good rule of thumb is to stick to the ⅓ rule. Never cut more than ⅓ of the grass blade off during any mow. Cutting it lower will scalp the lawn, which will injure the plant.
Mow When the Lawn is Dry
Moisture from rain or morning dew and fog weighs down the grass blades and can result in an uneven cut. Wet grass clippings tend to clog your mower blades and spread over your lawn, smothering the growing grass and clogging up your mower.
Just like every other living thing, grass blaeds need time to heal after a cut. If you mow while it’s wet, this tears the grass blade. Particularly if your grass has been wet for a long period of time, a fresh cut can invite disease and fungus. Keeping this in mind, that means the best time to mow your lawn is often early in the evening, after the morning dew has burned off.
Cut Grass in Different Directions
Did you know that sticking to the same mowing pattern can cause your grass to bend in the direction that you cut your lawn and can even lead to ruts? It’s best to mow your lawn at different angles and in different directions each time because it will encourage your grass to stand taller and give it will be much easier to get a uniform cut while mowing.
Mowing your lawn frequently is one of the best things you can do for your lawn. It pushes the lawn to develop its root system, and is the single best thing you can do to prevents weeds. There’s no harm in mowing as often as you can!
A good rule of thumb is to mow twice per week - especially during the spring and fall when your lawn is growing fast. Mowing once per week is also fine, but if you can mow twice you will significantly cut down on the amount of weeds in your lawn.
But this is not a one-size-fits-all rule. Your mowing schedule needs to adjust as the season changes. If your lawn is dormant from drought stress, obviously you should not mow it.
Mulch your clippings
You may be tempted to bag your grass clippings as you mow to keep everything looking nice and neat, but leaving them there is actually one of the best things you can do for your grass. The clippings break down over time and contain some key nutrients that your grass needs to stay healthy. The only thing to keep in mind is that you’re mowing frequently enough to keep the clippings small. If there are too many heavy clippings laying on your lawn, this can actually do more harm than good. Keep a balance so that you’re allowing for growth rather than hindering it.
Bonus - You don’t need to stop to empty the bag, or worry about where to dump the clippings!
Follow these proper lawn mowing techniques to improve your lawn’s overall health and appearance. For an even greener-looking lawn, try Lawnbright’s customized lawn plans to help revive your lawn in no time!