How to Properly Mow a Lawn? Best Practices.
Before mowing your lawn, you need to know the type of grass you will be mowing and whether it is the growing season (Spring or Fall) or the dry season (Summer or Winter). Generally, you should avoid cutting off more than 1/3rd of the total grass height. Cutting more than 1/3 creates burn marks common to overgrown and neglected lawns. Under trees or shaded areas, we recommend to keep the turf height at a minimum of 3" because there is added competition for water and nutrients. It is normally better to let the weedeater do the work around these areas as it will be able to blend the grass height in such a way that a mower can't. We also recommend maintaining the turf height to at least 2.5" high for purposes of weed prevention and control. Mowing too low may encourage crabgrass and dandelions to germinate. Furthermore, only bag clippings when there is weed presence. This helps lessen weed infestation. Once you have the weeds under control, mulch the grass clippings back to the lawn is highly recommended. Nutrients from the grass blade clippings will be reabsorbed by the lawn which helps deepen root growth. If leaves are present, blow them back to the lawn and run them over with a mower. This will mulch the leaves, helping the lawn to reabsorb the nutrients much easier.
For equipment, make sure to sharpen your mower blades before every use. Dull blades make rugged cuts which makes the lawn much weaker. Imagine having multiple bruises instead of just one. It increases the chance of diseases and pests aside from making the overall look of your lawn... well... below average.
Ask if your lawn care provider would sub-contract the work. If so, this is a strong red flag. Sub-contractors are more likely to skimp on maintenance. They acquire contracts by bidding very low. If your lawn care provider has a mowing crew, ask how often they maintain their equipment. Everyday is optimal. Once every week is about average. Once every season is poor.
When mowing the lawn, the best practice is to survey the area first by clearing debris that may be on the way of your lawn mower. Doing this lessens down time and costs for repairing broken or bent blades. A replacement OEM blade for a 21" mower may cost you up to $40. After the clean up, mow around the perimeter to get a good look of the entire area. Identify where to cut high, short, or not at all. This also serves as a check to your initial clean up. You may have missed a couple of toys, rocks, tree branches, etc.
After the perimeter cut, you may cut horizontally, diagonally, or vertically. You may even create imaginary squares or rectangles for larger lawns. Try to stick to one approach from beginning to end. This way you can vary the direction of mowing to lessen compaction and increase flatness. We recommend maintaining a slight overlap when mowing to achieve uniformed results. No matter what direction you choose to cut, you will need to mow on a straight path. To mow as straight as possible, avoid looking at the turf you are currently mowing. Instead, look straight ahead and lock your eyes on a targeted object far away, usually by the fence line or garden bed, and then mow towards it. After the pass, repeat the procedures on the next turn until you finish the entire yard.
When mowing using a zero-turn mower, avoid turning without both wheels slightly moving. A 360-degree turn will almost always create rot and scalp marks. If for some reason this happened to you, re-lay the grass, add compost, water the area, and re-flatten flatten. This helps repair the damage much faster.
Mowing is a highly repetitive task that requires some technical skill in small engine and blade maintenance, and a significant time to learn the skills needed. While there is no shortcut to good old hard work, the trick to success is to be as consistent as possible. Keep our recommendations in mind, have a keen attention to detail, and you are on your way to a great looking lawn.
We hope our article has helped you better understand how to properly mow a lawn. If you need professional lawn care assistance, please don't hesitate to contact us at 844-50K-LAWN (844-505-5296).
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50K Professional Lawn Services LLC. 844-505-5296. Austin, Texas.