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How to mow properly

Date posted: 9 March 2015

One of the most frequent and significant tasks to keep the lawn healthy and great-looking is mowing. Simple things such as getting the mowing frequency and cutting height right can have a distinct impact on your lawn’s health and appearance. That said; getting a lawn mower that ticks all the boxes is a paramount power gardening equipment that should be carefully selected. 

What you need to know about Lawn Mowers

There are petrol and electric mowers with the latter being the cheaper and more suitable for small lawns. However, they are less powerful than petrol lawn mowers that usually cover larger lawns. 

Tips:  

  • For large lawns, you can save considerable amounts of mowing time by purchasing a mower (ride-on or self-propelled model) with a wider cut. 
  • For high-quality cut, cylinder mowers are usually the best as they cut much shorter and you get a beautiful striped finish. 

A rotary mower is great for the majority of ornamental lawns. It won’t give you the fine cut of a cylinder mower, but you’ll cut uneven surfaces and longer grass much better. Long grass is also perfectly cut with a mulching mower, which is a rotary type of mower that doesn’t come with a collection box, like most rotary mowers, to collect the clippings. Instead, it finely chops the clippings and deposits them back into the turf, allowing your lawn to get back most of the nutrients lost in the clippings. 

Finally, a ride-on mower (be it rotary or cylinder) is usually used for cutting down very large lawns is significantly less time than other models. These are the most expensive of all types of mowers. However, you can find cheaper self-propelled models in the market. 

When you should mow?

The best time to mow the lawn is between early Spring to mid-autumn (March-October). Below is a table that will shed some light:

When/When

Frequency
Summer Twice a Week
Summer (drought periods) Once a Week
Spring & Autumn Once a Week
Winter Occasionally (if the weather is still warm and grass is growing ) with a high cut setting . *
Shady & Dry Areas Less frequent than areas with good moisture levels and in full sun

 *Do not attempt to mow the lawn in cold winds or frozen or soft ground conditions

Note: Frosty or wet grass should not be mowed, to avoid damaging the turf. 

Tip: Never leave your lawn more than 2 weeks between cuts, regardless of the length of the grass. That way, you will have a denser turf.

Mowing Properly

What is causing problems is not the mowing itself, but the mowing height. To get the correct height, here’s what you can do:

For the first Spring mowing, your lawn mower should be set to the highest cutting height setting, and gradually reduce until you reach the desired height. For ordinary lawns, this will be up to 1 inch (1 ½ inches in Autumn and Spring), and for fine lawns this will be up to ½ inches. 

Don’t mow too close no matter how attractive the result may be, because it weakens the grass and make it more prone to drought, moss, and weeds while leaving you with bare patches with tree roots or bumps sticking out above the surface. However, it is also advised not to cut the lawn too high as it can suffer from weak growth. As a general rule, keep in mind that it’s best not to cut more than 1/3 of the leaf shoots. 

How to have a Striped Effect

You can easily get that impressive striped look with a mower that has a rear roller. Note that you probably won’t get a nice striping with a wheeled rotary mower and that it takes a bit of practice to stripe up any lawn, especially rectangular lawns. 

Here’s a step by step guide:

  1. Start mowing from around the lawn’s edge. If your lawn is rectangular or square, work from left to right, mowing the lawn up and down. You can get a guide for a straight line by the straight lawn edge. 
  2. For irregularly shaped (or circular) lawns, set a focal point and line up the mower with it. That way, you will get the first straight line across the widest point that will be your guide for the other stripes.
  3. Make sure you line up the mower at every turn in a way that the next stripe will overlap the last one by a bit. 

Note: Your clippings box should regularly be emptied to avoid clumps of clippings depositing on the lawn. This will not only clog the mower, but also spoil the stripped finish you are trying so hard to have. 

 

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