Because we spend so much time with our lawnmowers this time of year, I thought I’d share some good lawn mowing tips.
- Sharp blades will make a clean cut of the grass blade while a dull blade will rip the grass. If the tips of your grass are brown and ragged looking, sharpen the lawnmower blade and your grass will look much greener.
- Wait for the grass to dry before mowing. Wet grass sticks like glue to the underneath part of your mower and blades but mowing wet grass can also encourage disease.
- Leave your clipping on the lawn. The clippings will decompose quickly adding a bit of organic matter to the soil and also adding some nitrogen. Lawn clippings do not contribute to thatch. In fact, as the clippings decompose, the microbes doing the work also decompose a bit of the thatch, so you can’t lose by leaving the clippings on your lawn.
- Only remove about 1/3 of the grass blade at any one time. That allows enough of the blade to efficiently photosynthesize, feeding the roots. Removing only 1/3 of the blade length won’t leave enough clippings to suffocate your lawn when left in place.
- Our cool season grasses want to rest when it gets really hot. Don’t force it to grow by applying high nitrogen fertilizer mid- summer. If the color pales apply iron to green it up, without forcing growth. If you haven’t applied any fertilizer this spring, do it right away.
- Change the pattern of the way you mow. This, the lawn folks agree, will keep your lawn looking better than always mowing in the same direction.
- Always use caution around your lawn mower. A mowing accident is usually pretty darn serious, so here are some safety tips to keep in mind.
- Keep kids and pets away from the areas being mowed.
- Don’t put your hands or feet anywhere near the blade while the mower is running.
- Remove sticks, stones and other debris from the yard before mowing.
- Wear non-slip close-toed shoes, not sandals or flip-flops, and long pants to protect your legs.
- Know how the mower works. Read the material that comes with the machine.
- Don’t cut the lawn in the dark (your neighbors will most likely throw things at you), or when it’s raining or stormy. Hanging on to the handle of a metal lawn mower in a lightening storm is not a good idea.
- Keep your mower in good working order. Change the oil and other necessary fluids. Check the spark plugs.
Gas lawnmowers are not only noise polluters, they are huge polluters of the air as well. If you’re looking to buy a new mower, consider one of the new ‘green’ mowers that run on a battery or electricity.
Four or five months from now, we can clean up our mowers and put them away for another season. Until then, happy mowing!