Mowing for a healthy lawn
There is definitely a right and wrong way to mow your lawn. It’s important to make sure you’re mowing properly. Many problems with lawns are caused by poor mowing practices — mowing too short, mowing with dull blades, bagging clippings, mowing infrequently, or cutting too much at once. Mowing properly is the best thing you can do for your lawn!
Set your mower at the highest setting for your grass type (typically 2.5- 3 inches) and only cut 1/3 of the grass blade at any one time, even if this means you have to mow again after several days. Longer grass blades support deeper roots to help find water and nutrients in the soil. Cutting too much at once forces grass to focus energy on regrowing blades, not deepening roots. Scalping the lawn also makes your lawn more prone to weeds and drought stress. Taller grass blades shade the soil, hold more moisture and keep it cooler, helping prevent browning and loss of color.
Mow a Dry Lawn
Wait for your lawn to dry before mowing, cutting wet grass can result in an uneven trim. Wet clippings can also clog your mower and cause it to dump clumps of grass on your lawn smothering the growing grass and result in a patchy lawnand thin areas. Mowing a dry lawn will allow your mower to mulch the blades much finer so they can quickly break down and recycle nutrients back into the lawn.
Change Mowing Patterns
Each time you mow, do it in a different direction. If you always cut your lawn using the same pattern, your grass learns which direction it’s being cut and begins to lean in the direction you mow. Changing mowing patterns will help avoid forming ruts in the lawn. Plus, grass will stand up nice and tall since it will be mowed from all different directions.
Mow as often as needed for your grass type and season. When grass is actively growing in the spring it needs to be mowed more frequently (perhaps as much as twice a week), but when growth slows during the heat of summer or at the end of the growing season, your lawn may only need to be mowed once every week or two. Mowing off too much at once will cause of loss of color and stress to your lawn.
**Leave Grass Clippings on Your Lawn
When mowing, leave the clippings on the lawn. Grass clippings break down quickly and return beneficial nutrients to the soil. Mow often enough so too much isn’t removed at once and clippings are small. Removing too much of the grass blade shocks the grass and leaves piles of long clippings on the lawn that do not break down quickly and can smother growing grass. It may be best to bag clippings if the lawn has grown too tall for your mower to mulch properly but should not be a normal mowing practice. Removing clippings takes away organic nutrients which is an important part of growing any healthy plant.
Keep Your Mower Blade Sharp
For the cleanest cut, sharpen mower blades at the first sign of wear. Dull blades tear up grass, causing ragged, brown edges. Continually using a dull mower blade can also cause your grass to weaken over time, making it more susceptible to disease, insect damage, and other stresses (like heat and drought).