6 tricks that make lawn mowing easier and grass healthier

June 23, 2015

There's more to lawn mowing than simply firing up your machine and running it over the yard. To help make mowing your lawn easier and for healthier grass, here are several tricks to keep in mind.

6 tricks that make lawn mowing easier and grass healthier

1. Plan your mowing in advance

If you're designing a landscape from scratch or planning changes that will affect large areas of space, take mowing into account. That means you should first decide how much lawn you're willing to mow, then plan features to make mowing easier. For example:

  • Design the lawn in a fairly symmetrical rectangle or oval, with few tight corners or narrow corridors.
  • Locate benches and other fixed features outside the lawn so you won't have to mow around them.
  • If it's difficult to mow beneath trees, either remove the low branches or use a ground cover there instead.

2. Take a third off

Mow often enough so that you remove only the top third portion of the grass blades each time you mow.

  • If the recommended height for your type of grass is five centimetres, mow when it reaches eight centimetres high.
  • If the lawn gets away from you, use a bag on your mower or rake up excessive amounts of clippings. They make great mulch in other parts of the yard.

3. Double duty

If the grass gets too long — when you're away on vacation, for example, or during prolonged rainy periods — another option is to mow twice.

  • Adjust the mower blade to the highest setting for the first pass, then cut your lawn again a few days later with the blade lowered.

4. When mowing a slope

When mowing a slope, always make cuts perpendicular to the incline.

  • Straining to push a walk-behind mower uphill and restraining it as you go downhill is not only exhausting but dangerous.
  • Explore alternatives, including planting ground covers or spreading shrubs on steep portions of your lawn.
  • If you have established grass on a slope, consider leaving it unmowed. You may find that you like its billowy, windblown look. Just make sure it isn't a neighbourhood eyesore.

5. Only mow dry grass

Don't mow when grass is wet. The cuts will be uneven and the clippings will clump up, forming clods that will smother the lawn.

  • Wet grass can also clog the mower and makes a soggy mess around the mower blade. Plus it's slippery underfoot, which makes mowing wet grass dangerous, as well.

6. Occasionally mow grass higher

Mow grass higher when it's stressed, whether from heat or drought.

  • Taller grass blades encourage deeper roots and keep plant crowns cool.
  • Cutting too short weakens the plant's resistance to disease and allows weed seeds to germinate by allowing more light to reach the soil.

Also mow high late in the year, when the grass growth slows down.

  • Lawn grasses withstand winter better when they hold a bit of blade above their crowns.

You should mow grass shorter in spring, when the weather is comfortably cool and it's growing fast.

  • To stimulate growth keep shaded grass a bit shorter.
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