Mowing a lawn seems like the simplest task, and most people think mowing is so easy that they don’t need to seek instructions. Learning proper lawn mowing techniques helps you mow your lawn safely and get the results you want.
Make Sure the Blades are Sharp
Over time, the blades on your mower need to be sharpened. Dull blades rip and tear your grass, making grass cutting impossible. Sharp blades prevent you from needing to make multiple passes over the same spot. Ripped grass bleaches and turns brown, giving your whole lawn a brown cast.
Most people don’t know that a new mower doesn’t have very sharp blades, so sharpening the blades before your first use is highly recommended. Always check for obstructions in the blade area because you don’t want any damage to your lawn mower. Try adding oil to the moving parts if they feel tight. You can also talk to your local Orlando lawn service professional or visit a lawn mower repair shop near you.
Set the Right Blade Height
Adjust the cutting height by raising or lowering the mower’s wheel. On the side of your lawn mower, look for a knob or lever that lets you adjust the height.
The grasses in Orlando, like Zoysia, tend to do better at the height of ½ to 1 inch with a maximum of two inches. Pay attention to the type of grass in your lawn. Each has preferred mowing heights.
- Augustine – 3.5 to 4 inches
- Bermuda Grass – 0.5 to 2 inches
- Bahiagrass – 3 to 4 inches
- Centipede Grass – 1.5 to 2 inches
- Buffalo Grass – 1.5 to 3 inches
- Zoysia – 1 to 2 inches
Cutting too short is called scalping, and you might remove most of the food producing parts of the plant. Grass that is kept taller can stay greener. Mowing high helps with weed control, conserves water, and creates more food. Allowing your grass to grow taller is one of the best weed prevention methods you can use!
The golden rule of lawn care is to never remove more than a third of the grass height! If you cut the grass blade too short, you can cause your lawn to be more susceptible to diseases and pests.
Clear Debris Before Mowing
Objects left on the ground can be propelled at a fast rate, as high as 200 miles per hour. That can seriously injure or maim someone who is nearby. For safety, clear objects and debris in your yard. Rake up branches, stones, toys, bottles, and other projectiles.
Mow High in The Shade
Grass that grows in the shade benefits from having a higher mowing height. In these areas, grass has to compete with the roots of trees, so letting the grass grow higher encourages longer root growth. Longer grass blades have a wider surface area for photosynthesis. Leaving the blades longer will help keep your lawn healthy in the shade.
Mowing Early and Frequently is Best
The best time to mow the lawn is early in the morning after the dew has dried onto the grass. Evening time works as well because it is cooler than midday. You want to mow when it is cool outside because it helps keep the moisture at the root level.
In wet and warm weather, like Florida, you will need to mow at least once a week, but more than likely it will need to be twice a week. Try not to set a schedule, but watch the height of your grass instead. Grass stays healthy if you never remove more than a third of the new growth.
How often you need to cut your grass will change throughout the season. While Orlando doesn’t tend to have drought conditions, extreme heat could slow down the growth of your grass. Pay attention to how fast your grass is growing and adjust your cutting schedule.
Change Your Mowing Pattern
If you mow in the same direction each time, the grass tends to lean in the direction that you mow. It is easy to develop habits because mowing is a mindless task, but try to change your pattern often. Doing so encourages your grass to grow upward rather than leaning. Also, changing the pattern helps you avoid hitting the same ruts in the ground repeatedly, which can make them larger.
Proper mowing is a back and forth pattern, not a spiral. A back and forth pattern is ideal in neat, even rows. If you have to mow around something, do two laps in both directions around the obstacle.
Leave Behind the Clippings
Leaving the grass clippings behind might look messy, but it’s a fantastic practice for your lawn. Grass clippings are one of the best natural fertilizers for lawns and gardens. Leaving the grass clippings behind returns nitrogen and vital nutrients back into your soil.
If you hate the look of grass clippings left behind, make it a habit to only leave them behind once a week or once every other week. Those annoying clippings recycle around 15% of all the lawn fertilizer applied. That means your lawn will be even greener than before. Grass clippings have a high water content, so they break down easily, returning moisture to your soil.
Be Careful on Hillsides
Be careful if you are mowing on a slope, even a small slope. Make sure the grass isn’t wet because that can lead to your lawn mower sliding. A sliding mower can lead to serious injuries. The best way to mow a hillside is to push the mower across the hill, rather than up and down.
On some hills, it might be better to use a string trimmer to cut the grass. If you have a steep slope, use a low-maintenance ground cover, so you no longer have to mow the grass in that area.
Learning Proper Mowing Techniques
Lawn service professionals usually know these techniques. Some of these tips you may already know yourself, but chances are you’ve been doing something wrong. The first step to a green, healthy lawn is learning how to mow properly. You could accidentally kill your grass when you think you are doing everything right.
Luckily, now is the time to change your habits. Remember to never remove more than a third of your grass at a time and keep those blades sharp. If you are unsure how to sharpen the blades, contact a local lawn care service to see if they offer sharpening services. Many will charge a small fee, but that’s worth it to keep your lawn healthy this year.