STEP 1:Trim and edge the grass
Trim and edge your grass before using the lawnmower to lessen the possibility of damage to nearby trees, plants, and hardscaping by operating the mower too closely. Additionally, weed whacking around obstructions like trees, mailboxes, and fences will speed up grass mowing because you won’t need to make any detours.
You won’t need to constantly pull turf grass back by hand if you edge garden beds because it won’t intrude on your landscaping plants.
STEP 2: Mow often and early.
- Resist the temptation to let your lawn get knee-high just to save mowing time and then give it a crew cut. Mowing more than one-third of the length of grass blades prevents optimal photosynthesis.
- Make a point of mowing grass approximately every 5 days in early spring and late fall—your lawn’s growth-spurt periods.
- If you are late in mowing, raise your blade height to keep from taking off too much plant tissue. Then, mow the yard again in a couple of days if you’d like a shorter lawn.
- Keep in mind that the best time to mow is in mid-morning, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. The early morning dew will have evaporated, but the grass won’t be limp from the harsh midday sun.
STEP 3: Change direction each time you cut the grass.
When you get into a lawn-mowing pattern, you can be tempted to cut consistently in the same direction. Don’t! Change things up and mow in a new direction each week to lessen soil compaction and turf wear.
For instance, this week, position the mower horizontally and cut in a straight line. The following week, cut vertically. You can even strive to perfect the lovely diagonal stripes found on a professional baseball diamond or mow in a Zen labyrinth-like pattern. Just make sure to vary it.
STEP 4: Make smart use of clippings.
There are two ways to use lawn clippings:
- Some people collect and bag grass clippings in order to prevent a layer of thatch from developing at the grassroots. If you choose to collect clippings, add them to your compost pile—they’ll contribute to beautifully rich soil for landscaping and potted plants.
- However, as long as you mow a lawn regularly so that clippings aren’t overly long, it’s fine to leave them where they fall as long as they do not get too thick. A layer of about 1 inch or so will break down and provide much-needed nutrients for your lawn, with no ill effects on the roots.
STEP 5: Finish up by blowing or sweeping away lawn waste.
The final step in properly mowing a lawn always entails clearing any stray grass clippings from driveways and paths. Whether you use a leaf blower to return the clippings to the freshly cut grass or a broom to sweep them up, it’s a nice finishing touch that’s also good for your neighborhood and the environment.
If left unattended, lawn waste can cause phosphorus pollution by washing into rivers and lakes and clogging storm drains.