Don’t Make These Lawn Mower MistakesMaddy Scheinost
Don’t Make These Lawn Mower Mistakes
These Mowing Mistakes Can Cause Lawn Damage!
Many people look forward to and love the time they spend working to make their lawn their outdoor carpet of dreams. They find it relaxing and rejuvenating. Other people loathe lawn mowing and lawn care. They hate spring and summer for that reason, and look forward to snow on the ground—just so they don’t have to mow the yard. You might expect the lawns of those who revel in lawn care would be healthier and more beautiful. And while that could well be the case, it’s not a given because the fact is, whether you like taking care of your lawn, or would rather stick pins in your eyes, if you indulge in any of these lawn mowing mistakes, your lawn will suffer the consequences. Take a look at this list of “lawn mowing don’ts,” curated by the tire experts at Treadworld, your best source for the finest lawn & garden tires, ATV tires, UTV tires, trailer tires and much more anywhere.
Mowing Too Often
Good news for those that hate mowing the lawn—mowing every Saturday because you’re off work is not necessarily a good thing. You should determine how long you want your grass—3-4 inches is considered optimal in many parts of the country—and then determine how often you mow based on how fast your grass is growing. Many lawn care experts recommend cutting one-third of the total length of the grass blades, or less, each time you mow because leaving your grass a little longer can have a number of benefits, including slowing weed growth, providing more surface area for photosynthesis which leads to stronger, healthier blades of grass, and reducing water evaporation keeping your lawn more hydrated. In some areas, grass grows faster in the spring and fall, so you should mow your lawn more regularly then, than during the summer months.
Not Mowing Often Enough
On the other hand, don’t abuse the advice that recommends letting your lawn grow a little longer, especially in summer. If you choose to go with a 3-4-inch optimal length, then don’t let your grass get over 4-1/2 inches before you mow it. When your grass is too long, the grass blades tend to tear rather than be sliced off cleanly by the blade on your lawnmower, with the result that the tips of the grass become damaged and turn brown, leading to a less than healthy-growing and healthy-looking lawn.
Cutting Your Grass Too Short
If your master plan is to cut your lawn shorter so you won’t have to mow your yard as often, make a new plan. Along with the benefits of longer grass blades mentioned above, there are some real down sides to mowing your lawn too short—sometimes called “scalping” your grass. Cutting your grass too short causes the turf to dry out faster robbing your grass of much-needed hydration, plus it can cause bald spots which can be an invitation for weed growth. Additionally, the healthiest situation for your grass is a proper balance between the root system and the blade. When you cut your grass too short, that balance is disturbed and stress is added to the grass plant, forcing the grass to focus on regrowing the blade rather than deepening the roots.
Always Mowing in the Same Direction
Changing your pattern of mowing the lawn can be good for your yard in several ways. For example, since grass tends to grow in the direction it’s cut in, if you vary your patterns, you can help the grass blades to maintain a more upright position. It can also help reduce soil compaction and increase water-flow and airflow. Additionally, you’ll save wear and tear on your lawn by changing up the mower tracks.
Mowing Wet Grass
Mowing your grass when it’s wet is like throwing a pass in football—there are several possible results and most of them are bad. Wet grass blades are heavier than dry blades and so can fold or bend, keeping you from getting an even trim. Or they can stick together bringing the same result. Additionally, when the grass is wet, it’s more likely your mower blade will tear rather than smoothly cutting the grass blades. The result is that the damaged tips of the grass turn brown, giving your lawn a very needy look. Plus, mowing wet grass isn’t particularly good for your lawnmower either.
Using the Damaged or Incorrect Lawnmower Tires
Smooth-running lawn mower tires are crucial to keeping your lawn healthy and beautiful. When the tread on your mower tires is worn, or if the tires are punctured, or damaged with chunks missing, it can cause them to spin and slide when you speed up, slow down, and especially when you turn—leading to gouged areas on your lawn that make it look unkempt. Tires for lawn mower that are uneven, or over- or under-inflated, can cause clumping grass or an uneven cut. Tires suffering from dry rot can fall apart, tires that are out of round can cause your lawn mower to wobble leading to an uneven cut, and tires that lose air and frequently require inflation can lead to irregular cutting paths that look terrible.
Using a Dull Lawnmower Blade
Here’s some advice you weren’t expecting, right? Don’t use a dull lawn mower blade. Duh. You may think you can get one more season out of the blade before you take it off and sharpen it yourself or take it to your local hardware store for sharpening, but your delay tactics may not be worth the results. A dull blade tears, shreds, or pulls grass blades instead of neatly cutting them, resulting in irregular areas of grass blade damage, leaving those areas open to damage from disease and insects. Again, this can cause the tips of your grass blades to turn brown, making it look like it’s dried out.
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