Some of us love mowing, and some of us don’t ! Either way it is a chore that must be done in order to have a functional safe and attractive lawn. In this article you will learn the proper way to mow lawn and all the information you need to know about lawn care, mowing techniques, advice and tips.
Stick with me and you will have a lawn that looks like a golf green ! With over 20 years experience in Landscaping, including Green Keeper experience for sports fields and golf clubs, I will steer you in the right direction by sharing what I know about lawn care and maintenance so you have a lawn that is healthy, low maintenance and desired by all.
When lawns begin to flourish and are kept neat it is only natural to find yourself or others spending more time outside around or on it. Children often tend to be magnetized to it ! A healthy and well presented lawn also adds value to your property.
Using The Right Mower
Today there are many options now available to us in regard to which type of lawnmower to own or use. Lawnmowers range in many different styles, sizes and prices.
If you have a large property then the use of a ride-on mower is going to be more suited to you as it makes short work of large areas of grass. If you have a small yard or grass area, then a push mower will be your choice of machine. If you live an off grid lifestyle or you are looking for a sustainable and eco-friendly method to mow, then a simple motor less (Flymo) push mower design is going to be your solution.
Some mowers have mulching attachments or are designed in line to mulch directly as you mow. This means that the cut grass clippings are re-entered into the blades for further chopping into smaller particles, to aid in going back into the lawn without the spill or clippings left behind. The majority of mulching mowers have more than 1 blade. Now that you have worked out which mower is for you let’s have a look at the best times to mow.
The Best Times To Mow
In Summer, mow every 7 days to 10 days. Depending on your location, soil type and factors like rainfall, this may vary. By not cutting your lawn every few days in summer to keep the perfect height, and allowing your lawn to grow semi-full leaf, will boost photosynthesis, water and nutrient absorption.
As a result this will increase root development and strength. This will help in having a healthier, greener, thicker lawn in cooler periods, especially in winter as most grasses die off. So instead of mowing every couple of days and keeping up with the ‘Jones’s’, I recommend mowing to around 7 days and letting your lawn thicken up slightly and work on root system improvement before mowing it again.
In Autumn, mow every 10 to 20 days. As the heat of summer fades, the frequencies of mowing slowly reduces. This season is a time in which I advise to mow your lawn at a slightly higher cutting height, which will result in a thicker than normal lawn. As your soil will be more exposed in winter from grass leaf die off, it is of benefit to have a thick lawn at this time of year as it will act as an insulation for the colder months, keeping soil temperatures regulated.
Normal mowing can be continued within the first month of Autumn, but I recommend after that time to stop mowing your lawn in preparation for Winter. Obviously this will vary depending on basic growing factors and your global location.
In Winter, do not mow at all. This is the best time of year for those that despise lawn mowing ! Grass growth ceases and your lawn will fall into hibernation like an old bear. Winter is a good time to get things in preparation for Spring and the next upcoming Summer. The collection of fertilizers and top soil dressings is advised for application in Spring and removal of any weeds that snuck under the radar in Autumn.
In Spring, Mow every 10 to 20 days. As we get closer to Summer the mowing will increase to around every 7 to 10 days. This season is the time to apply fertilizers and soil aeration techniques, which we will touch on shortly. Keep an eye out for any newborn weeds.
By checking out “The Best Homemade WeedKiller That Works” recipe, you will be able to get rid of weeds safely and economically with very little fuss at all.
The Proper Height To Cut Lawn
Following, you will find the facts on how short to cut your lawn. As a general rule of thumb, you should only cut around 1/3 of the grass length off, each mow. If you want to be more accurate then cutting 30 % – 40 % off your lawn length is ideal. For the different varieties of grasses or lawns, there are also different heights at which to cut at.
Grass / Mowing Height
- Bahia – 50 – 70 mm
- Bermuda – 15 – 30 mm
- Buffalo – 40 – 50 mm
- Centipede – 40 – 60 mm
- Couch – 30 – 40 mm
- Fine Fescue – 40 – 60 mm
- Kikuyu – 40 – 50 mm
- Kentucky Bluegrass – 40 – 60 mm
- Ryegrass – 40 – 60 mm
- St.Augustine – 50 – 80 mm
- Tall Fescue – 50 – 80 mm
- Zoysia – 10 – 30 mm
Tips for Grass Clippings
- It is beneficial for your lawn to leave the clippings where they fall, without the use of a catcher. The clippings provide valuable Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium which will break down quite quickly back into the top soil where it is needed by the grass. Mulching mowers are great for this reason.
- Mow without a catcher. Not only does it save the extra chore of emptying the catcher every 5 minutes, but it is also replacing the nutrients that the grass is taking out of the soil. The clippings or grass spill left behind only takes a day or two to dry out, and as a result and will not look unsightly for too long. Not letting your lawn get too long will also help with the amount of clippings left behind.
- Alternatively, grass clippings can be used in your compost pile to help with breakdown or can be turned into gardens or places with poor soil quality.
- Clippings can be used as a source of mulch for plants and trees and is considered better than nothing at all. Avoid using large amounts of lawn clippings around the trunks of young trees as the piles can heat up considerably via aerobic reaction and may actually kill your tree. This happened to me a long time ago with a small orange tree I had planted !
- Lawn clippings make an excellent fertilizer, The clippings can be used to make a tea like liquid fertilizer that works very well. By checking out the article called “The Best Homemade Fertilizer For Tomatoes” you will find the recipe on how to make and use it.
- Lawn clippings can be used to fill in holes, divots or voids in gardens or around the house. Just ensure to compact well.
- Clippings can be used in chicken pens, placed in nesting and laying box beds instead of using hay or straw. It works just as well, I have done this many times. If you use a catcher on your mower, then transferring the clippings to where you need them is easy.
- Proper mowing creates a lawn that is more drought tolerable. The correct cutting heights ensures solid root development and thick grass ramification. The thicker the grass the more insulative qualities it will have, in turn, retaining more soil moisture.
- Do not mow your lawn when the grass is wet. Not only will it be harder to cut but it will end up quite a messy affair. Wet grass also contributes to blade dulling or blunting.
- The best time to mow is in the morning when overnight rain or dew has evaporated. Grass texture is soft and easier to cut. Alternatively, mowing in the afternoon is recommended as well. Both times of the day avoids exposure to the heat of the day especially in summer. Mowing lawn in the mid summers heat will stress your lawn out through evaporation of plant moisture not to mention yourself !
- Try to avoid mowing after a lot of rain as unsightly mower wheel tracks and trenches will be created.
- Alternate the direction or your mowing pattern style occasionally. This will help in your lawn growing evenly. Lawn clippings are also deposited to all parts of the lawn aiding in fertilization. Mowing in different directions or patterns also prevents consistant wheel tracks from developing.
- Keep your lawn mower in good service condition. This includes sharp blades and any mechanical issues fixed. Servicing your mower yourself is not that hard and will save you money. Ensure oil levels are clean and correct, fuel, oil and air filters, spark plug cleaned or changed regularly. Always use clean fuel.
- Do not cut your lawn too short ! This will result in grass crown damage, lack of photosynthesis, poor growth, weed birth and soil exposure. Soil compaction will result in areas of high traffic.
- Lawn areas of high shade levels are to mowed at a higher cutting level to allow for optimum photosynthesis.
- Avoid mowing newly laid turf. New turf requires maximum leaf surface area for photosynthesis which is required for initial root establishment.
Lawn Care Tips
Fertilize your lawn at least twice a year with organic methods. These methods can be found in the article “The Best Homemade Fertilizer For Tomatoes “ The same DIY fertilizer methods in this post work just as well on all lawns and grasses.
Fertilize your lawn in Spring and during the growing period in Summer. Lawns are hungry plants that require feeding just like any other plant. A liquid type fertilizer is recommended, which is sprayed directly onto grass foliage for efficient and direct absorption.
Aerating the soil is important for lawns as it increases micro organic activity, water holding abilities and balanced growth. Grass root systems do need basic airflow. Aeration is a simple process of prodding your lawn soil with spikes much like the tines on a pitch or hay fork.
For larger areas of lawn or grass, it is recommended to use a towable spike wheel roller behind a ride-on lawn mower or small vehicle. Aerating smaller areas of lawn can simply be done by using a pitch fork. Ensure to spike soils between 50 and 100 mm deep at intervals of around 100mm square.
The removal of invasive weeds is important to uphold a healthy and attractive lawn. The methods of weed control vary and once again I suggest using only organic methods found in the article ” The Best Homemade Weed Killer That Works “ here within, Off Grid Lifestyle Solutions.
For the majority of lawns, the best way to remove weeds is by getting down and dirty, removing the weeds by hand, ensuring the roots of the weeds are extracted as well.
Watering your lawn is as important as mowing it ! Lawns are thirsty drinkers and drink more than a whino on payday ! Make sure you keep water up to your lawn in the hotter growing periods when rainfall is low. The use of many different types of lawn sprinklers is the way to achieve this.
A sprinkler known as “The Wobble Tee” proves to be efficient, durable and has great water throwing abilities even with low water pressure. Diverting used household water such as laundry water is also a great method to water lawns.
How To Create The Striped Lawn Look
This effect is simply caused by the mower blades twisting the grass while cutting, leaving the grass to lean slightly in one direction.
1. Begin mowing down one side of your mowing area in a straight line. You can use the side of a house to guide you.
2. At the end of your first run, turn the mower around and mow back the opposite direction.
3. Continue this process until you have reached the other side of your mowing area.
4. Starting at one corner, run the mower all the way around the outside of the mowed area to create a border or frame.
Note: Cutting your grass at a slightly higher cut height will give you a better looking effect with a darker shade of green pattern.
How To Create The Checkerboard Lawn Look
This look is easy to achieve and looks great especially if you are using the lawn to play sports on, or to just simply impress the neighbours !
1. Begin mowing down one side of your mowing area in a straight line.
2. At the end of your first run, turn the mower around and mow back the opposite direction.
3. Continue this process until you have reached the other side of the mowing area.
4. Starting at an opposing corner, repeat this process across the first mowing runs in the opposite ( cross-hatch ) direction
5. Once you have reached the other side, run the mower all the way around the outside boundary to create a border.
Note: Leave the cutting height the same throughout the whole procedure.
Mowing Safety Tips
1. Always ensure that you use appropriate personal protective equipment such as Enclosed Footwear, Earmuffs, Eye protection and Sun-smart clothing.
2. Avoid mowing around people, especially children. As children are shorter in height they are more at risk of receiving a serious projectile injury that has been ejected from the mower.
3. Make sure when mowing steep embankments or shoulders to mow them directly up or down the gradient. Mowing while traversing along the side of an embankment is looking for trouble as the risk of slip or roll over, especially with a ride-on mower increases.
4. When using a push mower always mow in a forward direction and avoid pulling the mower back towards yourself abruptly. Do not mow with the mower being pulled behind yourself.
5. Be mindful when mowing near glass or windows as small projectiles that are hiding in the grass may be picked up and launched by the blades resulting in chips, cracks and broken glass.
6. Before mowing always have a quick walk around and look for any potential hazards laying in the grass which may be hit by the mower blades.
7. If you accidentally mow over a large rock or come into contact with concrete or steel, turn mower ‘off’ immediately and inspect blades. Contacting hard objects will cause blade damage and it is important to check that the blades are still safe to use. I have personally seen a part of a broken push mower blade come off and strike the shin of a leg which was not all that pleasant as it was a totally avoidable incident.
8. Exercise caution when refueling lawn mowers as they can get quite hot especially in summer and after hours of use. Spilt petrol that comes into contact with a very hot exhaust can combust, and with a full container of fuel in your hand this is not the situation to be in. Always turn mower ‘off’ before refueling and use a fuel funnel to avoid spills.
9. Never allow children to side-saddle or ride with you on a ride-on lawn mower for obvious reasons. This rule also applies to young children operating a push lawn mower for safety reasons.
Interesting Mowing Facts
* The first lawnmower to be invented originated from Australia.
* Lawns require twice as much water as trees and shrubs.
* The average homeowner spends around 40 hours a year mowing the lawn.
* Homeowners are using 50 % more herbicides on their lawns than they did 20 years ago.
( source, EPA. Environmental Protection Agency )
If you have any comments or questions please feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to reply and help you out.
All the best,