Mowing is often overlooked as one of the major factors in keeping laws healthy. Good mowing habits will keep your grass strong and healthy – and of course it will keep it looking good, too! Maintaining a well-cut lawn is also the best defense against weeds. Here you will read about mowing tips, mowing safety and the best way to mow for the type of grass in your yard.
Don’t Cut the Grass Too Short!
Cutting your grass at higher points will help it grow in the healthiest way. Higher grass provides for a deeper root system and can prevent large weeds, particularly crabgrass, from invading. In fact, it is recommended to cut off no more than a third of the grass at any one cutting. You can also set your mower to cut the grass to keep it at a level of three inches high.
Cutting grass too low can make it more susceptible to drought, insects and weeds because the root system will be much smaller, leaving room for weeds to grow. Remember that your grass should be cut before it grows taller than 4.5 inches. If you find that your grass is growing too quickly for you to keep up, then you should consider watering it less often, since this will slow down its growth. It will also save you money, since you will be conserving water. Learn more about the best ways to water your lawn efficiently. If you still can’t keep up with mowing your fast-growing grass, consider hiring a professional landscaper to cut it for you.
How often should you cut your grass? The answer depends on the time of year and the type of grass you have. During the warmest weather, you probably need to mow your lawn a couple of times a month. In the spring, grass may need cutting at least once a week. Here is a general guide for mowing frequency according to grass type:
- 3–7 Days: Common Bermudagrass, Hybrid Bermudagrass
- 5–7 Days: Kentucky Bluegrass, St. Augustine Grass, Texas Bluegrass (Reville), Zoysia Matrella (Fine-bladed Zoysia)
- 7–10 Days: Zoysia Japonica or Coarse-Bladed Zoysia
- 7–14 Days: Buffalograss, Centipedegrass, Tall Fescue
If you are unsure about the type of grass in your yard, contact a professional landscaper to help you determine what type you have.
General Mowing Tips:
- Mow when the grass is dry.
- Leave the freshly cut grass clippings – they provide great nutrients for your grass. The clippings also can help your lawn retain water and cut down on the need for fertilizer. It’s estimated that leaving clippings can also cut the amount of time you spend on lawn maintenance by 30 to 35 percent.
- Mow your lawn in a different direction each time, especially with shorter grasses. Changing direction ensures a more even cut, since grass blades will grow more erect and less likely to develop into a set pattern.
- Keep up with regular mower maintenance, including sharpening of the blades and changing the oil.
- Avoid mowing in the dark.
Safe Mowing Tips:
Unfortunately, each year there are many mowing accidents, many of which result in serious injury and many of which involve children. Please note some of the following safety tips for mowing which will help keep you and your family safe:
The Center for Childhood Safety offers the following tips:
- Keep children and pets out of the yard while mowing.
- Do a walk-through of the area before you begin mowing. Clear the area of large sticks and other debris.
- Wear clothing that offers some protection, like sturdy shoes with non-slip soles to provide good traction. Wear eye protection, like glasses, sunglasses or goggles while mowing.
- Read the operating manual for your mower. Make sure you understand all of its safety features prior to use. Make sure your new power mower has a “deadman” control that stops the mower if you let go of the handle. Do not disable this or any other safety features of your mower.
- Do not cut the lawn when it’s raining, lightning or when the grass is slippery.
- Adolescents should be at least 12 years of age before they operate lawn-mowing equipment. Discuss lawn mower safety with all of your children.
- Never allow young children to ride a mower alone.
- Warn adolescents who are operating lawn-mowing equipment to avoid placing their hands near power blades. Do not clean the grass exit with your hands.
- Do not push a lawn mower onto the pavement. The lawn keeps objects from being hurled at a high speed. On the pavement, there is no such protection.
- Make sure your mower is in good working condition at all times. Do not operate a mower when under the influence of alcohol or other drugs that impair judgment.
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