Spring is in the air! The weather is warming up and we’re seeing an influx of customers preparing for their first cut of the year. And thankfully mowing a lawn is a nice easy job, isn’t it? Just turn on your trusty mower, push it about your garden, empty the collection bag and put it all back in the shed for next time. Simple!
So why do some lawns look so much nicer than yours? It’s not exactly like you could be mowing wrong now, is it? Unfortunately, you might well be. There are lots of little lawn mowing mistakes people make without even realising it, and the good thing is, it’s not particularly difficult to break those bad habbits. If you do everything right in the first place it can actually save you time because you avoid having to carry out repair work later.
In the summer months when you’re about to go on holiday it seems to make perfect sense to give the lawn an extra close shave so that it isn’t too unruly when you return.
Or perhaps you’ve not got round to mowing for a bit. You grab your mower and get cracking to get that height back in check.
Lovely. Job’s a good ‘un.
Cutting the grass actually stimulates growth. You’re more likely to find moss thriving in short grass as well. To keep your lawn looking as neat as possible, just stick to your normal routine in the run up to your holidays. After you get back, set your lawn mower blades high. Then cut it slightly more frequently, lowering the blades with every cut until you get it back down to your desired length.
Removing too much of the length of the grass is a bit more of an issue. The rule is that you shouldn’t cut more than a third of the length in any one mow. A hefty snip you could put your grass at risk of drying out substantially as well as leaving it open to attack from insects, weed, and diseases.
Stick to no more than one third of the grass in any one cut, and your grass will thank you.
Try shaving with a dull razor and then try again with a fresh, sharp blade. Which one do you have more success with? Which blade gave you more cuts and left more stubble behind? It’s quite simple when it comes down to it really; dull blades are no good for cutting. You’d not use a butter knife to carve up a joint of meat, would you?
Your lawnmower blades need sharpening as much (if not more) than your knives do, and this task should be carried out at least once a year, and almost always more frequently than that. If you try to cut your lawn with dull mower blades you will find the grass gets ripped and torn rather than nicely snipped.
Your lawnmower could well be your most expensive piece of gardening equipment, yet do you take care of it? Probably not. Don’t feel guilty – you’re not alone. Every time you cut you grass your machine will get covered in clippings, especially if the turf is even a little damp.
For a thorough clean (which you’ll need to do around twice a year, depending on use), refer to your user manual. If you’ve used it recently, wait for everything to cool down. You will need to drain the petrol from the tank before you get started, but there will be specific guidance about the direction you should tip your particular mower.
Between cleans you might need to clear out the blades. Remember that lawnmowers are tools which are designed to cut – so you don’t want to be sticking your hand near any of those parts. If you have an electric mower, make sure it’s unplugged. Disconnect the spark plug of petrol mowers, and remove the battery of battery operated devices. Using a brush, remove any grass.
Sometimes it’s unavoidable. You might prefer to mow first thing in the morning, but this usually means that the grass will still be damp from morning dew. You work fulltime so the only chance you really get for lawn maintenance is on the weekend. This significantly increases the likelihood that you’re going to have to mow the day after it has rained (just because you have fewer days – although we aren’t convinced that there isn’t a statistical likelihood of rain whenever you’re off work).
Wet grass simply doesn’t cut as well as dry grass, which means you’re more likely to cause damage. Some of the cuttings will stick to the machine, whilst others will clump up on the lawn itself, blocking out light which could kill the grass beneath.
We know it’s not always possible to wait for completely dry weather, but if you can you will find your grass is much healthier, as well as easier to cut.
Ok, so while this might not strictly be a mower related problem, but it’s a lawn care problem which is well worth mentioning.
Watering your grass on occasion when it’s particularly dry is fine, although not usually necessary. Make you sure you do your watering first thing in the morning, or in the evening to give it a chance to seep into the soil before the sun evaporates all your hard work.
If you water all the time, especially with a sprinkler, you could just be wasting water. Your lawn won’t develop deep roots and therefore will rely on you to provide moisture. There’s also nothing really wrong with your grass browning slightly in the summer – this is purely a superficial thing and it will quickly recover as soon as the inevitable rain comes.
If you notice anything isn’t quite right with your lawnmower, it’s best to speak to someone about it sooner rather than later. What might start out as a small job, easily covered by warranty could soon become something of a mammoth task. It might even be that you just need a little bit of over the phone advice to get yourself back on the right track.