Here at Lower Hutt Lawn Mowing we mow lots of lawns. And we do a great job of them, as our customers keep telling us. But a lot of people have never had to mow the lawn and have absolutely no idea how to do it properly. So we though you needed a quick guide.
How to mow a lawn or grass the right way is one of the most important practices in keeping your lawn healthy. Grasses are like most plants — if you clip off the growing points (for grass, it’s in the crown, where the new leaves develop), the plants branch out and become denser, which in this case, turns thousands of individual grass plants into a tightly woven turf or a lawn. If you didn’t mow at all, your yard would look more like a prairie than a lawn. But the mere act of mowing isn’t what makes a lawn look good. Mowing height and mowing frequency determine how healthy and attractive your lawn looks. After all, cutting a lawn is stressful for the grass. The leaves make the food for the roots — and how would you like it if someone kept cutting off your food?
Height does count when you mow a lawn
Most grasses have a range of recommended mowing heights. Stay at the upper end of that range when the lawn is under stressful conditions, such as hot weather or drought, or if you have a shady lawn. In cooler weather, you can cut the grass a little lower.
Edging and trimming are the finishing touches of mowing, kind of like getting a shave after you’ve had a haircut. Edging and trimming are pretty close to being the same thing. Some tools are called edgers because they’re designed to trim the lawn along a hard surface like a driveway or sidewalk. Edgers cut a nice clean edge, but leave some dirt and grass debris that you need to clean up. On the other hand, you can use trimmers anywhere — along a hard surface, in tight spaces, next to planting beds, and so on. Trimmers also leave some clippings on paths and driveways that you need to sweep up.
- Know the equipment. Read the owner’s manual. Become familiar with all the safety features and don’t disconnect any of them. Keep all nuts and bolts properly tightened. Never pull a walking mower.
- Check the lawn before mowing and wear proper clothing. Pick up any rocks or debris. Heavy shoes and long pants provide the best protection from flying debris. If you’re using a reel mower, don’t wear loose clothing.
- Protect your hearing. Doing yard work can get pretty noisy. In addition to the lawn mower, high-decibel noise comes from trimmers, edgers, and blowers. Use earplugs or earmuff-type hearing protection.
- Keep pets and children away from the lawn as you mow. Don’t let children operate a lawn mower unless they’re strong enough, responsible, and understand all the operating and safety features. Even then, supervise them. Never give a young child a ride on a ride-on mower. Sudden stops, flying objects, or an excited child can spell disaster.
- Be careful when fueling. Stop the mower and let the engine cool for 10 minutes before fueling. Never fill the tank with the mower on the lawn. Avoid spills by using a gas can with an adequate pouring spout. Clean up spills immediately and put the used rags in a covered metal can. (Gasoline-soaked rags are a fire hazard.)
- Turn off the mower. Never leave the mower running unattended, or work on a motor that is running. Turn off the power when you cross nongrass areas.
- Be careful on hills. Steep slopes are always dangerous because a mower can flip over or go out of control. Plant a ground cover other than turf in these areas. On gentle slopes, mow across the slope, not up and down. Use a walk-behind mower.
If you liked this, be sure to check out our other BLOG Posts on lawn care, tips and how to videos.