How to mow your lawn properly

Why is mowing correctly so important?

You’d be surprised how important mowing is. You cannot only save a lot of water by mowing properly, your lawn will fare much better if you do. The rules are simple:

1. Cut your lawn at the tallest possible setting- (2.5 to 3″ high after you mow). Why? There are actually many reasons why this matters:

First, consider the “bonsai effect.” When lawns are cut short, they will always respond by growing thin, hair-like roots up close to the surface. That’s not very drought- resistant!

Then, there’s the “tropical rain forest effect.” When lawns are cut tall, a warm, moist layer of air is trapped near the soil surface, greatly slowing evaporation, even on hot windy days.

If the grass is tall, the sun never strikes the ground, just like in a jungle, where there is perpetual shade on the forest floor, also slowing evaporation.

Weed seeds need the sun to germinate, so 80% of weeds like crabgrass can be prevented from sprouting because of the shade created.

2. Never remove more than 1/3 of the blade.

If your lawn looks yellow just after mowing, you are likely violating this rule. Let your lawn grow to 4″ then cut it back to 3″ so it will stay tall and you’ll be cutting less than 1/3 off. Why does this matter? Because the blades grow from the stem and most of their usable area is in the 2″-3″ zone, cutting off the best part leaves only partial blades with stems that are cutoff. Lawns need blade area, not cut stem exposure.

3. Mow as often as needed so that you follow Rules 1 and 2 above.

This may mean that you need to mow weekly, because if you don’t, more than 1/3 of the grass blades will be cut off. Don’t be tempted to mow it short, thinking that you won’t need to mow it again soon. Your lawn hates that, and you’ll use more water trying to revive it after injury.

4. Sharpen your mower blade.

A sharp blade cuts cleanly; a dull blade shreds the grass ends, causing a frayed brown look. The torn ends also lose water faster than a clean cut.

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About the Author:

Max Todd, owner of Fairway Lawn Service has been in the lawn business since he was seventeen years old. He worked for a lawn service for six years before starting Fairway Lawn Service in 1977. Now, thousands of San Francisco Bay Area homeowners rely on Fairway Lawn Service to aerate their lawns on a regular basis. Its customers also benefit by Max's expertise and free advice. Max loves lawns, and knows everything about them. Call him. You'll see!