Tips to mow your lawn
1. The mowing rule of thumb is to never remove more that 1/3 of the plant height. Set your mower no lower than three inches (preferrably 3.5-4″ for fescue lawns) and mow your lawn and grass when it reaches three inches tall. Plan to mow your lawn once a week during the summer to stay within the 1/3 mowing height rule.
2. There is no need to bag your clippings. The one inch clippings will easily filter into the grass canopy and out of sight. Grass clippings quickly decompose and are recycled as free plant food for the lawn – less fertilizer needed. Most cities prohibit dumping yard waste in land fills. If you still want to bag your clippings ask the city about a yard waste collection program – there may be and additional fee.·
3. Avoid scalp mowing. You mow your lawn too short, scalp mowing, if clippings are longer than 1.5 inches and they accumulate on the mowed surface. Continually choking the mower with tall grass is a sign that you are scalping the lawn. Scalping thins the lawn canopy, encourages weeds, and robs the plant of energy needed to make new grass during the summer.
4. If you get in a situation where the grass is too tall then raise your mowing height until you are removing about one third of the grass height. Each week set the mower down a notch, usually about a half inch, until you are at your target mowing height. The only time a lower than normal mowing is acceptable is when you first mow your lawn in the spring. This will remove the winter burned leaves and help the soil warm up faster.
5. Safer mowing is also better for the lawn. Mow taller and with the lowest throttle setting needed to cut the grass. Taller mowing means deeper roots and a more competitive lawn canopy that shades the soil and keeps out weeds.
6. If you don’t water your lawn then taller mowing is a must for survival during summer drought dormancy. From a safety perspective taller mowing reduces blade contact with bumpy ground or where loose objects like rocks and twigs are present. Using minimum power, especially in gravely areas, will reduce the chance of throwing objects from beneath the mower.
Two convenient features to look for in a mower : Mulching decks and easily adjustable wheels for height variation.
- Mulching decks have a special blade and deck configuration that suspends the clippings under the deck and allows them to be chopped into smaller clippings that easily filter out of sight and into the lawn canopy. Most of the time your mower will be set at the 2.5 inch mowing height. To avoid scalping and injury to the lawn you may need to raise the mowing height.
- If the wheels are not easily adjusted then you will probably just go ahead and mow your lawn too short. Avoid buying mowers with a fixed mowing height.
Keep your mower blade properly sharpened for a clean cut.
- Individual grass blades will be frayed on the cut end giving a white appearance to the top of the lawn canopy.
- Mower blades need not be razor sharp to cut grass. In fact you want a rather thick but beveled edge to the blade that as it will produce a clean cut as the blade wears out.
- The properly sharpened blade will have no nicks and will be smooth on the bottom with a 30 to 45 degree bevel towards the top of the blade.