Most of us have had some kind of mowing experience. You’ve probably done it a few times to make extra cash while growing up, especially during the summers. And while mowing may look straightforward, there’s actually an art to it.
That is, if you want have a lush, green lawn. Here’s how to mow the lawn the right way. We go through the process step by step which makes it perfect for beginners and anyone who wants to achieve a healthier lawn.
I’m sure that a lot of you are probably asking, how hard can it be? All you need to do is push the mower or let the motor do the work.
Well, here are a few things to consider.
- How often should you mow your lawn?
- Should you cut the grass short or long?
- How do you mow the grass, in rows, spirals or is there a better pattern?
- Is there an optimal way to mow inclines and hills?
These are just some of the things we cover. All of which can make a big difference in how your yard will look.
So let’s get to it.
How to Mow the Lawn for Beginners
Pull Out Your Mower When Your Lawn is Dry
The best time to mow is when the grass is dry. For this reason, summer times when there isn’t much rain is better than the rainy season.
During the day, the ideal time is early in the evening, as long as it didn’t rain earlier. The reason is that afternoons are warm. This allows the grass to be dry during early evening.
In contrast, mornings aren’t a good time to mow your lawn because the grass is often moist from the precipitation overnight.
So why mow when the lawn is dry?
You’ll be able to get an even trim. Wet grass tends to bunch together and follow the mower when it’s pressed down. This makes it harder to cut all the blades evenly.
In addition, wet grass clippings can also clog your mower because they clump up easily. Clumping also makes them stick to the surface of the lawn when the mower spits them out.
So when you rake the clippings, there’s a good chance you’ll pull out the growing grass as well.
Make Sure Your Mower’s Blades are Sharp
Making sure that your mower’s blades are sharp is another important thing to check. Often, we assume that as long as the mower is running, you’re okay.
Mowing grass with dull blades is like using a dull pair of scissors on your hair. It isn’t able to cut cleanly. Instead, it uses brute force. This results in an uneven lawn. And worse, it will be pulling grass out instead of cutting the blades of grass.
Set Your Mower’s Blades to a High Setting
This may sound ironic because why bother to mow your lawn if you’re not going to cut it short anyway? The reason is that longer grass is healthier grass.
Longer grass allows it to develop a deeper root system. This makes them stronger and more stable. More importantly, deep roots allow your grass to get more nutrients and moisture from the soil. So, you get greener grass.
Ideally, you only want to cut the top third of the grass. At most about 40%. This allows the grass to be long enough to encourage the roots to grow a deeper structure.
While it does mean that you’ll be mowing more frequently to prevent your lawn from getting thick, it does make your grass greener and healthier. They’re also less likely to get easily pulled out or result in brown patches.
Mow in Different Patterns
The common misconception is that you want to mow the same pattern every time. This can be in rows, spirals or checkerboard patterns.
While these all look good, it’s more important to have a healthy lawn. Like people, grass adjusts to the repeating situations. When you mow the same way every time, the grass realizes this and will start leaning towards the direction you always mow.
This will cause your lawn to lean in one direction or another. It also increases the possibility or some areas forming ruts.
To get nice looking grass that stand straight, it’s a good idea to vary your mowing patterns.
Adjust Your Mowing Schedule Based on the Season
Similarly, following a mowing schedule may sound like a practical idea. Unfortunately, plants grow at different pace during different times of the year. They grow faster during the sunny spring weather. And, slows down during the cooler winter and very hot summer months.
Thus, sticking to a schedule, say every Sunday, means that you’ll be mowing regardless if your lawn needs it or not.
The best way to know when it’s time to mow the lawn is to look at it. When it gets thick and unruly, it’s time to pull the lawn mower out regardless if you just mowed a few days ago. Similarly, during the slower growth months, you may not need to mow every week.
Don’t Mow a New Lawn Immediately
Mowing right after the seeds are starting to grow isn’t a good idea. When you’ve seeded a new lawn, it’s always better to wait until the grass reaches mowing height. This will depend on the type of grass you have.
Most grass will be ready to be mowed when they reach 2 to 2.5 inches. Although some species like Bermuda and centipede are ready to be mowed by the time they get to 1.5 to 2 inches high.
When you mow for the first time, the same rule applies. Only mow up to a third of the top of the grass. This will allow the grass to grow deeper roots.
Use Grass Clippings for Compost or Mulch
Grass clippings that your mower spits out may not look visually appealing for your lawn. However, they’re very healthy for the grass. So, it’s a good idea to let them be.
Grass clippings work like compost because they decompose fairly quickly. When they decay, the clippings supply your lawn with nutrients that help your grass grow healthier.
Practice Mowing Safety
This is the most important thing of all. While it’s nice to have a beautiful lawn, it’s much better to avoid any accidents while cutting the grass. Mowers can be dangerous because they use very sharp blades.
Large motorized mowers also all the extra risk of getting hurt by the machinery. Push mowers on the other hand sometimes have the blades open which can put you at risk. This is especially true if you decide to wear flip flops or sandals while mowing.
You may probably find this enticing to do especially on a lazy weekend. But, it’s not a good idea and your toes will thank you for wearing closed toe shoes while tending to the lawn.