Did you know your mowing habits can affect your lawn for years to come? Follow the expert mowing tips in this post for a healthier lawn this year and every year!
1. Only mow 1/3 of the grass blade off at a time
Each time you mow your lawn, you stress it a little. To minimize the amount of stress you put on your lawn, only cut ⅓ of the grass blade off at a time. This will help keep your grass blades and root system healthy. If your lawn is very long and you cut it to the desired height in one go, it will put additional, unnecessary stress on the lawn. This can cause the grass tips to burn and interrupt the normal growth cycle of the lawn.
If your grass is particularly long, mow a few times a week, removing ⅓ of the height each time, until the lawn is at the desired length. Once your lawn is back to a normal height range, return to a normal mowing schedule.
2. Keep your lawn 3–4 inches long
The height of your lawn plays a role in the health of your lawn, especially in the summer months. Keep your lawn 3–4 inches long during the spring and summer to protect the roots from the heat and to prevent grubs.
Lawn grubs are the larvae of various beetles and moths that feed on the root zone after hatching. Adult insects must lay their eggs close to the root zone so their larvae can begin feeding as soon as they hatch, but long grass blades coupled with thick lawns help prevent adults from reaching the target larval feeding zone.
Grass that is at least three inches in length will also promote longer root growth and make it harder for weeds to take root. Longer grass also offers some natural shade to your lawn, keeping the roots cooler during the summer.
While you’ll need longer grass blades in the summer, in late fall you should cut your lawn much shorter (around 2 inches) to prepare for the winter months. You’ll primarily want shorter grass in the winter to prevent snow mold from developing on your grass. Snow mold can easily develop under snow when long grass blades and surface debris become matted down over an extended period of time.
3. Mow weekly in mid-morning or evening
You’ll probably need to mow your lawn about once a week. Try to mow in mid-morning or evening when it is slightly cooler outside. This will allow your lawn to recover after you mow. If you mow in the heat of the day instead, your grass tips may scorch from heat stress. Your lawn will usually recover from this type of superficial damage, but over time it can take a toll.
4. Read your lawnmower’s instruction manual
Be sure to read the instruction manual for your specific lawnmower before using it. If you’re having trouble starting your mower, you might need to clean the air filter, add oil, or add gas. Keep in mind that some mowers may also require you to prime the engine before starting.
5. Always mow on a dry day
You should always mow on a dry day for the cleanest cut. Mowing in rainy weather can create ruts in your lawn and damage your grass. Your lawnmower will struggle to cut the grass blades and may even remove small chunks of your lawn if it is wet enough.
6. Wait for 3-6 weeks to mow new sod
If you lay down fresh sod, refrain from mowing it for a few weeks to allow it to establish its roots. You risk damaging the root system if you mow it too quickly. Once you can tug on the grass blades without pulling up squares of sod, your lawn should be ready to mow.
7. Be especially careful with damaged grass
If your lawn has spots that are recovering from drought, disease, or insect damage, wait to mow those areas until they start to recover and grow again. When you start to mow there again, raise the mower height up a notch or two higher than you normally would. This will allow the lawn to heal fully in those areas.
8. Sharpen mower blades semi-annually
Many homeowners forget to keep the blades on their lawnmower sharp, resulting in frayed grass that loses moisture quickly (and therefore becomes discolored at the tips). The blades of your lawnmower should be sharpened about one or two times in a growing season.
Your mower will probably need to be sharpened just once at the beginning of the growing season if you have a reel-type mower blade, but if you use the lawnmower a lot, you may need to sharpen it twice a year. If you have a rotary-type mower blade, you may need to sharpen the blades three or more times throughout the growing season.
Sharpening the mower blades will prevent your lawnmower from pulling the grass blades, which will give you a more level cut and keep the grass healthier.
9. Winterize to maintain your lawnmower
You need to winterize your lawnmower in late fall to keep it in good repair for the growing season. To winterize the mower, run a gas stabilizer through the engine, clean the carburetor, and replace the air filter if necessary. You should also put your mower in your shed or garage and cover it with something to keep it out of the weather and in good condition for the following year. If you do this, your lawnmower will last longer and be more effective.
Though Stewart’s lawn care program does not include mowing, it does include top-quality fertilizer, weed control, and grub control to keep your lawn healthy all year long. Call or text our office today at 801-226-2261 for a free service quote.