Most of us learned how to use a lawn mower when we were young, and we haven’t thought about how we do it since then. That means most of us aren’t doing everything we could to improve the health and appearance of our lawns. Here’s a list of the most common bad mowing habits, and what you can do to avoid them.
Mowing the Grass Too Short
It seems logical: the shorter the grass is, the less often you’ll need to cut it. However, cutting grass too short damages it, thinning out your lawn. This is particularly true of varieties that have grass crowns. Cutting into the crown can kill that clump of grass, leaving a bald spot behind.
Most turf grasses need to be between one and two inches in length, while some varieties, like Kentucky Bluegrass, can grow up to 3.5 inches high before cutting. The key to having healthy grass is to cut it before the weight of the leaves makes them bend down on themselves. When you mow, limit each cut to no more than 1/3 of the total blade length.
If you’ve had to delay mowing for a while due to heavy rains, you may need to mow multiple times to get the grass down to its normal height. In this case, wait a couple of days between each mowing to give the grass time to recover.
Using the Same Pattern When You Mow
It’s easy to get into a routine, using the same pattern, starting point, and end point when you mow. However, this repetition means the wheels on your mower go over the same spots each time. This leads to matting, soil compression, and ruts, which damage the grass. Instead, try starting at different points, and change up your patterns. This spreads out the load from your mower, helping the grass recover and thrive.
Mowing with Dull Blades
A dull mower blade doesn’t slice through grass, it rips off the ends. This makes the cut inconsistent, leaving a poor finish. The tears also make the grass more susceptible to infections. If the surface of your lawn looks uneven after mowing, or you notice the grass tips look jagged, you need to sharpen your mower blades.
If you live in an area with sandy soil, you’re well aware of how fast the sand picked up by your mower accelerates blade wear. If you’re getting tired of sharpening, consider upgrading to blades made specifically for this soil. Sandy soil blades have a hardened surface that resists scouring, cutting wear significantly.
Need Something for Your Mower?
Shank’s Lawn Equipment sells and services most major brands of lawn mowers, including Exmark, Scag, Cub Cadet, Troy-Bilt, Woods, and Honda. We’re also an authorized service center for all major small engine brands, including Kawasaki, Kohler, Honda, Vanguard, and Briggs & Stratton, so we can repair your equipment. Visit us in person at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA, or online at www.shankslawn.com. We ship parts and accessories across the U.S. or Canada.