When, what height and with which kind of mower should you cut your lawn?
When and what height should you mow a lawn?
When mowing the grass, you don’t have to break out a ruler to make sure you’re not cutting the grass too short.
A good rule of thumb to follow is never to cut more than one-third off the height of the grass. That’s true even if you’ve let the lawn go for a while and it’s a bit overgrown. You don’t want to cut too much off at once, no matter how tall the grass is.
When is the best time of day to mow a lawn?
You don’t want to be out mowing the lawn in the middle of a hot, sunny, summer’s day and your lawn doesn’t want that either. The best time of day to mow the lawn, for the sake of both the person mowing and the grass itself, is in the late afternoon or early evening when the weather has had a chance to cool down a bit, and the sun isn’t nearly so intense.
You might think that early morning before the day has had a chance to heat up would be a good time to mow. But the grass is often wet with dew early in the day, which can present its own set of problems.
Another thing to remember when it comes to timing is that it’s better to mow your lawn when it needs to be mowed rather than to mow it based on your schedule. For example, it’s not necessarily best to mow the lawn every Tuesday at 5 p.m., as the lawn might not need mowing every Tuesday. Instead, get a sense of how quickly the grass grows and set a mowing schedule based on the speed of growth.
It’s generally a good idea to wait for the lawn to dry after it rains before you mow it.
Reasons why you should avoid mowing a wet lawn
- It’s usually difficult to get a good cut when the blades of grass are wet. The blades of grass might be weighed down by the water, or they might be more likely to stick together, leading to an uneven cut.
- Depending on the condition of your lawnmower, it can take much longer to mow a wet lawn than a dry one. The wet grass is likely to cling to the blades so that you need to pause more frequently to clear them away. You might also find that you need to go over the same area multiple times to get a good cut when the grass is wet.
- Mowing a wet lawn isn’t just inconvenient, it can also be dangerous. Wet grass can be slippery, so it can be riskier to use a push mower after it rains, as there’s the chance that you might slip and fall on the grass.
Which type of mower should I use?
Now that you’ve got the basics of mowing the lawn mastered, the next thing to consider is the type of lawnmower to use. Many types of lawnmowers exist, but not all of them are appropriate. If you were to cut the grass on a large athletic field or golf course using just a manual push mower, you’d be working all day and would still most likely not get the job done.
Here’s a rundown of some of the different types of lawnmowers and the situations they are best suited for:
Push mower: A push mower such as those from an AS Motor is usually around 19”-22” inches wide. Since they are powered by a motor or engine, push mowers take a bit less effort to use compared to a manual reel mower. But you still have to be behind the mower, pushing it along. They’re usually recommended for lawns 1/4 acre or smaller.
Self-propelled mower: Similar in many ways to a push mower, a self-propelled mower such as the Toro 22207 Turfmaster can drive itself forward, easing some of the burden on the person doing the mowing. They’re best suited for small lawns.
Ride-on lawnmower: Ride-on mowers such as a Kubota GR2120 can cut more quickly than push mowers, meaning they can make short work of a large lawn. They are often around twice the width of the typical push mower, meaning they cut more grass in half the time. They also require less effort to use, since the person mowing gets to sit down.
Kubota Zero-turn mowers: A zero-turn mower such as the new Ariens Zenith E (battery powered) has a lot in common with a typical ride-on lawnmower, the major difference being that the ride-on mowers steering wheel is replaced with two levers for steering. It can take a bit of effort to figure out how best to steer and control a zero-turn mower, but once a person gets the hang of operating the machine, the mower is usually as good, if not better, for mowing large lawns. Zero-turn mowers move quickly and cut a wide area of grass at once.
Never mow your lawn the same way twice
That can sound extreme, but mowing your lawn in the same pattern over and over again can affect how the grass grows. It can start to bend in one direction towards where the blades typically come from, creating what looks like bald patches in your lawn. Varying the mowing pattern you use helps to avoid that issue and keeps the grass growing upright.
When it comes to the technique or pattern to follow when mowing the lawn, there is some debate over which one is best. The truth is, it depends on what look you’re going for. If you want stripes, you’ll want to move in one direction vertically or horizontally across the lawn, then mow in the opposite direction in a line that’s parallel to where you started mowing.
To mow in a spiral pattern, start in the middle of the lawn, driving the mower in a tight circle. It’s often easier to use a zero-turn tractor or a push mower when creating a spiral, as a standard ride-on mower usually has too large of a turning radius.