Do’s & Don’ts Of Mowing

If there’s one thing that truly captures the sound of summer, besides kids splashing in the city pool, it’s the ol’ lawn mower revving to life.  

FUNDAY FACT: The first mechanical lawn mower was invented in 1830 by Edwin Beard Budding.

Mowing has been a part of land ownership for centuries. Before we had electric mowers, we relied on sheep or scythes to keep grass trimmed. More than being a way to manicure our little treasures of land, mowing is good for the health of the grass and, below that, the soil.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO MOW YOUR LAWN

We mow because consistency in grass growth is crucial in maintaining a beautiful yard – and what homeowner doesn’t want that? Mowing also helps keep your lawn healthy and, at the same time, eliminates some of the pests from the grass. The first cut of your lawn’s growing season may also be the most important. Springtime is not only a good time to clean up tree limbs and debris from your yard (do this step before you mow!), but also the first mow of spring sends a signal to lawn roots that it’s time to get growing and removes dead grass tips that took the brunt of winter.  Once the weather warms around March and April, the grass in your yard gets busy growing fast especially if the soil is getting the nutrients it needs. Basically, it’s a good idea to stay on top of mowing your lawn. No sheep or scythes required.

THE DO’S & DON’TS OF MOWING YOUR LAWN

Mowing properly will help you have a lush and beautiful lawn, but it’s not as simple as it may sound (really!). Here are some mowing do’s and don’ts to help simplify this important lawn care chore:

MOWING DO'S

 

  • Sharpen your mower blade and keep them sharp. Dull blades tear at grass, making it look frayed and messy and causing undue stress. What’s more, torn and shredded grass from dull mower blades are vulnerable to disease.
  • Mow only when your grass is dry. Wet grass can clog your mower deck and lead to an uneven cut. No one wants that. Besides, walking all over wet grass can just get sloppy.
  • Adjust mower height throughout the season. It’s okay – and is often encouraged if the temps are hot and dry – to let your lawn’s grass grow longer in the summer; it’ll help with heat stress and prevent weeds from growing. Taller grass also leads to longer roots, and that’ll slow soil water evaporation. Great news if you’re in a dry climate since your lawn will be able to withstand drought better.
  • Grasscycle. Yep, that’s a verb. “Grasscycling” is when you leave grass clippings right where they fall when you mow your lawn. No need to bag and trash those clippings because they give your grass the nutrients it needs as they decompose. This little trick only works well when you cut only a third of the grass blade at any given time.

MOWING DON'TS

 

  • Don’t cut your lawn too short. A good rule of thumb is removing no more than ⅓ of the grass length each time you mow. When your lawn is cut too short, it’s more susceptible to disease and weeds. If cut too short, it can also get seriously damaged in drier, hotter climates where droughts are more frequent.
  • Don’t mow your lawn every week. We get it; it’s easy to think you’ve got to mow every week, but that can overlook the subtleties of what your lawn needs and ignore factors like sunlight, water and growth rate which is influenced by your soil’s health and time of year. Even the type of grass you have impacts how often you should be mowing it. When in doubt, aim to mow once every ten to fourteen days.
  • Don’t mow during peak hours of the day. The smell of freshly cut grass is actually its stress call (we’re not even kidding). If you mow during peak hours when the sun is strongest (10AM to 2PM), your grass will lose more water and won’t recover as quickly, compared to mowing earlier in the morning before 10AM or in the early evenings.
  • Don’t mow right after seeding. To get the best results, it’s better to wait to mow after you spread grass seed on your lawn and when the blades are about 2 inches tall.

PRO TIP: Don’t let your grass grow too high before you cut it because grass can get sunburned – yep, just like you on your first day at the beach. When you cut tall grass short, the shaded part of the blades are then exposed to the sun and burn.