Lawn-mowing season has officially arrived. But after a few cuts, reality hits: Mowing the grass over and over again becomes such a chore. The temptation to tame the workload may lead to a few bad turf-trimming habits (like cutting it too short). But, before you cut your lawn, take a moment to consider the best approach to mowing your grass.
Efficiency may seem like the highest priority in the moment, but be sure to balance it with your safety as well as the health and appearance of your lawn. The best way to mow the lawn results in dense, healthy turf, keeps your appendages intact, and leaves you with plenty of time to enjoy a good backyard barbecue.
The Best Mowing Mantra: Mow Tall. Mow Often.
If your goal is thick, beautiful turf that blocks out weeds and stands strong against disease, mow tall and mow often. This age-old phrase also rings true in lawn care: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Spend time maintaining and mowing properly, and you’ll spend less time fixing the issues that come along with cutting corners.
Mow Tall. The ideal mowing height for most Indiana lawns is between 3 to 4 inches. The benefits of mowing tall are numerous. Roots will grow deeper, improving drought tolerance. Tall turf provides better shade for the root system, conserving water and blocking out the growth of unwanted weeds. And a longer grass blade provides more area for your lawn’s critical process of photosynthesis.
Mow Often. Steadily maintain a proper frequency to ensure that no more than ⅓ of the total grass blade is removed at one time. This is referred to as the One-Third Rule. Cutting more than ⅓ of the overall blade causes stress on the plant and weakens your lawn’s defenses. When maintaining a length of 3 to 4 inches, cut each time the blades grow to 5 or 6 inches.
Learn more about the One-Third Rule from Cale Bigelow, Professor of Agronomy in the Turf Science Program at Purdue University:
A Few More Tips Once You Master the Mantra
- Safety First. Before you mow, take a pass through the yard to collect debris that may be thrown by the blade. These objects could be propelled at speeds up to 200 mph, causing serious bodily injury to you or anyone nearby. (Objects may also damage your mower or dull the mowing blade.)
- Sharpen the Blades. Mowing with a sharp blade ensures a clean cut. Grass with ragged edges from a dull cut is more susceptible to disease and water loss. Sharpen after 8 to 10 cuts for best results.
- Efficient Routes. To minimize extra turns and backtracking, mow your lawn in rows or spirals. Switch up your direction with each cutting to encourage grass blades to stand straight.
- Stay Cool. Choose the coolest time of day possible (morning or evening) to minimize heat stress for both you and your turf.
- Stay Dry. Mowing wet grass can get messy, but it also poses some soil and safety concerns as well. Don’t risk slipping on wet turf with the mower running. Additionally, the weight of the mower can cause soil compaction when it’s soggy, and wet grass is more resistant to the mower blade. The best bet is to allow the turf to dry sufficiently before beginning your cut.
Mow tall and mow often. Stay safe, and save time fixing issues that may result from improper maintenance. Follow these mowing tips, then contact Lawn Pride for your seasonal lawn care treatments and services. You’ll be rewarded with dense, beautiful turf all season long!