Keeping your lawn green and looking good can be a lot more difficult than it seems, especially if you’re working with tricky soil or in a dry climate.
One factor you might not have thought about in your quest for the perfect lawn?
How often you mow your lawn.
Mowing your lawn too often, or not often enough, can both affect the health and color of your lawn.
If you’re looking for a fantastic green lawn you’ll need to make sure you’re mowing your lawn as often as it needs, and no more often.
In this Guide You’ll Learn:
- How mowing changes the health of your lawn
- How to decide how often to mow
- And Much More…!
What Are The Benefits of Mowing Your Lawn?
There are a lot of benefits to mowing your lawn regularly, it’s not just about making sure your HOA is happy with its length. One of the most important benefits of mowing your lawn is that it can actually help prevent weeds and other plants from invading the grass.
How does mowing prevent weeds from invading your lawn?
Well, it’s pretty simple. Grass is an unusual kind of plant because it actually grows from close to the button of the grass. Most plants have a growth tip at the top of the plant, and they often can’t regenerate the growth tip after it’s been cut off.
That includes most weeds and other invasive plants that might try to call your lawn home.
Mowing also helps make sure there’s enough sunlight available for thickly growing grass. Overly tall grass ends up competing with itself, thinning the grass at the bottom because there isn’t enough sunlight for all of it.
That’s a problem when you go to mow your lawn again since it might look patchy or thin after a period of overgrowth.
Mowing your lawn regularly is also important to meet HOA standards, which can help you avoid fines and other expenses from homeownership. More importantly, having a beautiful soft grass lawn can even improve the value of your home.
Well-tended lawns are also a great compliment to a well-designed garden. Having a good lawn can also make it easier to install new landscaping and build a garden for the first time.
Mowing properly is one of the most important things you can do to support your lawn’s long-term growth and health.
What You Need To Know To Decide How Often To Mow Your Lawn?
There are a few things you need to consider when you’re trying to decide how often to mow your lawn. You’ll need to pay attention to the way your lawn grows, and it also helps if you know what grass, or grasses, are planted in your lawn.
Different kinds of grass grow in different ways. It may be mentioned in the details of your house from when you bought it if you haven’t re-seeded your lawn or purchased new sod. However, it’s fairly common not to know exactly what kind of grass you have.
Check online for the most common types of grass grown in your area. Chances are it’s one of those varieties since the local climate and weather can have a profound influence on how well grass grows.
If you’re still not sure, you can potentially ask a lawn care professional to examine your lawn. But, if your lawn is already thinning you might be better off just re-seeding with a known variety instead of trying to find out what you already have.
Not sure how to mow your lawn and get a professional finish? I’ve got you covered with this helpful video.
How Quickly Does Your Grass Grow?
This is the most important factor for how often you should mow your grass. Most varieties have an average growth rate, but the growth rate will change depending on the weather, whether it’s sunny or cloudy, how much water is available, and whether it’s well-fertilized.
You’ll need to mow more often during your grass’s peak season. In cold weather climates, like most of the northern United States, your grass will probably reach peak season during the summer.
Hot weather climates are less predictable. Your grass’ peak season could be anywhere from spring to fall. If you have a dual grass lawn, also more common in hot weather climates, you may have two different peak seasons for the different kinds of grass you’re growing.
During peak season your grass may grow fast enough to need mowing 1-2 times a week. The rest of the time you’ll likely be able to mow once every 2 weeks or even less.
How to Tell When Your Grass Is Ready To Mow?
Paying attention to how quickly your grass is growing is one thing, but knowing when your grass is tall enough to mow is equally important. Your grass will be healthiest if you mow off no more than 1/3rd of the length at a time.
Cutting your grass too often can be equally harmful since you won’t be able to cut the blades cleanly. The shredded ends release more water than clean-cut edges, which then stresses the rest of the plant.
The right height to cut the grass depends on how tall you need to keep it. If your HOA wants grass that’s about 3 inches tall, then you’ll want to cut it when it’s about 4 inches tall to hit the right height.
You can do the same math for any height of grass so long as you aren’t cutting off more than 1/3rd of the grass at a time. There is one exception though, even if you have to keep your grass very short you should never cut less than ½ inch of grass off. That’s to make sure the grass cuts cleanly and evenly across your whole lawn.
Don’t Mow Wet
Whenever possible you should make sure your lawn is dry before you start mowing. Mowing wet changes the way your lawn mower’s blade works on the grass and makes tearing and ragged shredding more common.
Also, mowing wet and leaving the clippings on the lawn can increase the risk of mold and other grass infections.
Wait until your lawn has had a chance to dry before you mow, usually at least 12 hours after rain or watering.
If you have to mow wet make sure to clear all the clippings off your lawn after you’re done. It’s generally better to wait a little longer than to mow wet, but you might need to mow right away if you have an HOA inspection coming up or if your grass is starting to go to seed.
What Do I Need to Mow My Lawn?
There usually aren’t any special requirements to mow your lawn. The most important piece of equipment is your lawnmower itself. You should match your lawnmower to the size and shape of your lawn. Push mowers are a great option for smaller suburban yards, but you may want to upgrade to a riding lawnmower or a pull behind mower to cover a larger area.
You may also want to get some lawn care disposal bags to hold clippings if you don’t have a compost pile. Lawn care bags can be necessary if your waste disposal company doesn’t allow unbagged lawn/garden debris in your bins.
Tips For Mowing Your Lawn
I’ve given you the background you need to decide when to mow your lawn, but here are a few more tips to help make sure your lawn is as healthy as possible.
Make Sure You Mow Evenly
It’s important to make sure you’re mowing evenly across your whole lawn. Pay attention as you’re mowing. If the lawnmower seems to be missing sections of grass you’re likely moving a little too fast. Slow down, and go back over those areas to get the last bits of grass.
You should also make sure to overlap the areas you’ve already mowed as you work across your lawn. That will help make sure your grass is evenly trimmed and there aren’t any missed areas.
Lawn Mower Blades Need Occasional Sharpening
Most lawn mowers will need their blades sharpened regularly. The general recommendation is to get your mower blades sharpened after about 20 hours of use. For most people that works out to once every 6 months to a year, depending on the size of your lawn and how often you have to mow it.
Of course, some people will need to sharpen their lawn mower blades more often. It’s possible to sharpen the blade on your own if you want to save a little money, but it does take some practice to get it right.
Fertilizer May Help Improve Grass Growth
If your grass isn’t growing as quickly as it used to, it might need a layer of fertilizer to help restore the nutrients it needs to grow. Most lawns should only be fertilized about once a year, preferably when the grass is growing its roots more than its blades.
In Northern climates, you’ll typically want to fertilize in the Autumn, just before your grass goes dormant for the winter. However, warmer climates with a less severe winter usually prefer Spring fertilization.
Using a good fertilizer spreader can help make sure you get an even layer across your whole lawn, without over-fertilizing the grass.
A Thin Layer of Grass Clippings Can Be A Good Thing
Many people recommend picking up all the grass clippings on your lawn after you mow, but that isn’t always necessary. The only times you need to pick up your lawn clippings are if your lawn is wet and the clippings are a mold risk, or if your clippings fall in clumps all across the lawn.
If your lawnmower produces an even layer of clippings then you can leave them on the lawn. That way it will work as a thin layer of fertilizer. Grass clippings on your lawn can also help protect the soil from the sunlight, which helps keep your soil moist longer. Since your grass needs some moisture in the soil to grow, the clippings can help you go longer between watering.
Just keep an eye on your lawn to make sure the clippings aren’t building up too much. They should decompose naturally over time, but if it starts to build up you’ll need to collect your clippings for a while until the existing layer starts to decompose.
My Final Thoughts Effective Lawn Mowing
Mowing your lawn might not be the most exciting part of landscaping, lawn care, or garden care, but it’s an essential part of keeping a traditional home lawn and garden. Unless you replace your lawn with grass alternatives, taking care of your grass is one of the best things you can do to keep your home looking good.
Following these tips and tricks for monitoring your grass and mowing on the right schedule will help keep your grass healthier and looking good for longer.
Remember, there’s no such thing as a perfect regular lawn care schedule. You’ll likely need to mow more often during some seasons, and less often during others.
Adapting to your grass’s growth cycle is critical for maintaining the best lawns.
Enjoy your beautiful lawn!