Mowing your lawn may seem like a simple and straightforward task, but there are a lot of things to think about. Like most plants, if you cut off the growing point on grass, it can branch out and become denser, which results in a tightly-woven turf. If you never cut your grass, on the other hand, it can begin to look more like a prairie rather than a garden lawn.
The act of mowing isn't what makes your lawn look good - the mowing height and mowing frequency is what determines how healthy and how attractive your lawn looks.
Not sure how to mow a lawn? Never done it before? Here's our step-by-step guide...
1. Invest in a good lawnmower.
First things first: in order to mow your lawn properly, you will need to invest in a lawnmower that is up to snuff. If you buy and use a lawnmower that isn't good enough, the reality is that you will not get good results back, especially not in the time required.
A good lawn mower will cut your grass quickly and cleanly, and will not require a lot of maintenance to keep it running efficiently. There are several quality lawn mowers available on the market. Be sure to conduct thorough research before purchasing your lawnmower - ask questions and read reviews. This should give you a pretty good idea of whether the mower is good enough.
2. Begin with sharp blades.
One of the most common mistakes people make when mowing the lawn is using tired, dull mower blades rather than sharp ones. Sharp blades result in clean cuts and last for longer, whereas dull blades can only tear the grass, not cut it. When the grass is torn, it becomes stressed as its roots begin to get pulled out and the uncut part of the grass blade is harmed. If you're wondering how to mow a lawn effectively, ensure your blades are as sharp as can be.
3. Mow a little bit at a time.
Many people use the 'one third' rule when it comes to mowing their lawn: you should only cut off one-third of your grass's length when mowing in order to prevent the grass from straining. Of all the tips on how to mow a lawn, this is one of the most important.
You should aim to cut as little as possible off at any given time. There's a reason why the top golf courses and football pitches in the world are cut multiple times a week. The less grass you cut off, the stronger, the denser and the less stressed the grass will become. To make things a little easier on your part, here is a rough guide to the cutting heights you should be aiming for depending on the type of grass in your garden:
- Bahiagrass, blue grama, buffalo grass or tall fescue: 2 to 3 inches
- Bentgrass: 0.25 to 1 inch
- Common Bermuda grass: 0.75 to 1.5 inches
- Hybrid Bermudagrass: 0.5 to 1 inch
- Centipede grass or zoysia grass: 1 to 2 inches
- Fine fescue or St Augustine grass: 1.5 to 2.5 inches
- Kentucky bluegrass: 1.75 to 2.5 inches
- Annual and perennial ryegrass: 1.5 to 2 inches
4. Switch up your cutting patterns.
There are two types of pattern you can use when mowing your lawn. The first is back and forth - here you start at one side of your lawn, mow until you reach the other side and then come back. This is by far the most common cutting pattern, and it's the best pattern to use when mowing rectangular, standard lawns.
The second pattern is more of a circular one, which is often used with oddly-shaped gardens or those that have trees or flowerbeds in the centre. Here, you start by mowing your lawn in a circle, working your way outwards or inwards.
No matter which pattern you choose, be sure to alternate which way you go. If you use the first method and start left and mow right, the next time you mow, start right and mow to the left. This will help your grass to stay vertical and prevent it from beginning to lean one way.
5. Use a mulching blade.
Mulching blades are a type of mowing blade which are designed to chop up grass clippings into little pieces so they can fall down into the lawn, decompose and provide fertiliser. Whilst most lawns still need extra fertiliser on top of this, applying grass clippings can be a massive help.
6. Mow over your clippings.
When decided which direction and pattern to mow in, you want to be mowing over the clippings produced in your previous cut. This causes the clipping to be cut up even finer, which means faster decomposition into fertiliser. However, it is important to change mowing patterns so that one side of your lawn doesn't receive more fertiliser than the other.
7. Never mow your lawn wet.
Here's a simple but crucial thing to remember: never mow your lawn when it is wet. This is because you are more likely to get ruts in your lawn, cutting unevenly and clumping up grass. It's better to play it safe and mow your lawn when it is dry. This is particularly true with a new lawn, where the grass doesn't have the deeper root system that an established lawn would have.
Regardless of the type of lawn you have in your garden, mowing your grass is one of the most important things you can do for a healthy lawn. If you follow the above steps, you will be a whole lot closer to achieving that lush lawn you've always dreamed of and one that your neighbours wish they had.
For more information on how to mow a lawn, get in touch with the lawn care professionals here at Lawn & Weed Expert today!
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