Have you been mowing your lawn for years, but still feel a little green at it? Lawn mowing, as it turns out, is an artform — and your grass blades can be a tad persnickety, with preferences on when you mow and the patterns that you follow.
Here are six, expert-approved lawn-mowing tips that will help save you time and improve the health of your lawn this summer.
Mow in the Evening
The buzz of a lawn mower may seem synonymous with Saturday mornings in suburbia. But, go ahead and sleep in because the optimal time to cut your grass is actually in the evenings, according to the Grounds Guys full-service grounds care, lawn care and landscaping company. Because it tends to be cooler at this time, the roots retain their moisture.
The blades of grass also have an entire night to recover before being sapped by the sun again in the morning. Conversely, wet, dewy grass can clog your mower deck. (Pro tip: A weather station can help you track rainfall and temperature, helping you gauge the right time to mow).
Don’t Bag Your Grass
Letting the grass clippings stay put on the lawn after you mow isn’t lazy. It’s called “grasscycling,” and it can help promote a healthier lawn (in addition to saving you the hassle of bagging your clippings). According to the DIY Network, the clippings can help fertilize your lawn. You may want to replace your current mower blade with a mulching blade that has the power to cut grass into smaller pieces that decompose faster.
Change Up Your Mowing Pattern
If you’re a creature of habit, you probably have a mowing route. But, the Grounds Guys suggest switching up your mowing pattern because your grass tends to lean in the direction that you mow. Keep your lawn guessing your next mowing move, and you can encourage your grass to grow in a more upward direction.
Sharpen Your Blades
If you notice a brown hue on the tips of grass blades, a dull blade is probably to blame. Dull blades can cause a jagged cut, rather than a clean one, which will cause the tips of the grass blades to brown a couple of days after you mow. Also, those uneven tears invite pests to enter the grass blades, which can spell trouble, DIY Network warns. To remedy this, the experts at DIY Network recommend sharpening your blades a few times during the busy mowing season and consider purchasing an extra mower blade to have on hand. Also, avoid running your mower over thick branches or stones.
Don’t Cut Your Grass Too Short
The common logic is that the shorter you cut your grass, the less frequently you will have to mow your lawn. While this may be true, you might actually spend more time on lawn care because you could be promoting weed growth. The Grounds Guys recommend cutting no more than one-third of the blade at a time to reduce damaging your grass. Also, when your grass is too short, it helps speed up evaporation (which could lead to a less lush-looking lawn) and makes it easier for weeds to grow.
Leave Grass Longer in Shaded Areas
When you get to the grass in shaded areas under trees, you should mow it higher, according to the professionals at Lowe’s. Grass in these areas is competing with tree roots for water and nutrients.
Now, a final tip: After you finish an evening grass-cutting session, it’s time to relax. Make dinner on the grill and unwind while dining al fresco or head indoors for a movie night, made even better with a home-theater projector (and popcorn), of course.