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Most homeowners probably think they know how to cut grass properly, but many end up with grass that is unattractive and dull.
Maintain your lawn at the ideal height, and you will be rewarded with a healthy turf. It will also turn a deeper green and easily fends off weeds, drought and disease. Below are the do’s and don’ts when it comes to grass cutting.
How to Cut Grass Properly
Do not cut grass too short
Many people cut their grass too short. Doing so will lay the foundations for many grass related problems. In general, short grass is more susceptible to weeds, droughts and heat damage. Longer grass helps to provide shade over the roots, and is more resistant to heat damage as it can absorb more.
Do not cut grass too long
Let your grass grow too long between cuttings, and you run the risk of making it the ideal home for insects and critters such as mosquitoes, mice and snakes. Also, grass that is too long is very hard to mow. You will also have more grass waste to dispose of, which could be an issue with a large garden.
The correct grass cutting length
The optimum grass height is approximately 2.5 inches. When it comes to cutting the grass, there is something called the 1/3 rule. It has been around for many decades and centuries and it has stood the test of time. Hence you must always stick to this 1/3 rule. This rule means you must cut no more than 1/3 of the grass blade length. It is important to remember that we damage grass when cutting it. This rule appears to be the optimum length for grass to survive the cut, whilst also allowing it to thrive.
Cut when dry
Ideally the grass should be cut when dry. This is because wet grass can strain your mower If the grass is damp. If you really have no choice, then it is best to push the mower more slowly when cutting wet grass.
Cut the lawn perimeter first
Cutting the edges first will help keep your lawn consistent in appearance when complete. It will also mean you won’t have to cross your lawn pattern at the end.
Overlap your cutting lines
Ensure that each run up the lawn with the lawn mower slightly overlaps the previous one. This systematic approach to grass cutting makes it easier to know what has already been cut. It also creates a nicer striped pattern on your lawn.
Change the mowing pattern each time
Did you know that the direction you mow can influence how your grass grows? If you alternate the mowing pattern, you will help to ensure a more upright growth. Mowing in the same direction every time compacts the soil, which can reduce aeration and growth speed. Also, there is more risk of causing ruts and tramlines in your lawn due to the repetitiveness of your cutting direction.
Remove the grass clippings
Make sure you use a mower with a grass-clipping collector. Having a few clipping on the lawn is ok in very small quantities, it could even help bring back nitrogen and nutrients back to the lawn. However, large clumps of grass clipping being left on the lawn is unacceptable as it may prevent sunlight from getting through.
When to Cut Grass
Always try to mow your lawn when it is completely dry. This helps to keep the grass blades upright, and will reduce lawn mower rusting. Ideally you should avoid mowing midnight during the summer months as it will help reduce grass heat damage.
Lawn Mower Maintenance Tips
Keep blades sharp
The blades of the mower should be balanced and sharp. This is important because sharp lawn mower blades allow the grass to be cut cleanly, which helps grass recover quicker. Having sharp blades also help to reduce your mowing time.
Clean the undercarriage
The undercarriage of your mower will often be clogged up with grass. After cutting, ensure you thoroughly clean all grass clippings from inside your mower. As a safety precaution, always disconnect the electrical plug (or spark plug for engine powered), before working cleaning the undercarriage.