With the well-needed rain that we received last week the world looks a little fresher again. Trees might still be under stress, but they certainly drank up every bit of precipitation that fell. Other plants soaked up all of Mother Nature’s gifts as well. The farmers will be offering thanks, as did other resident gardens. Even the lawns have perked up and are gaining back a measure of green from the crispy brown that indicated its dormancy. You know what that means though, don’t you? It’s time to cut the grass again!

Lawn Mower

Lawn Mower (Photo credit: Beedle Um Bum)

GRASS CUTTING 101

So now that your lawn has started to perk up, it is time to fire up the old lawn mower again. Wonderful, but is there anything that you should know, before you attack those green blades?

  • Cutting the grass helps to encourage new grass plants to grow, thus making your lawn thicker. When you cut off the growing tip of a grass blade, it forces the plant to branch out making it denser. With a thicker lawn, fewer weeds are able to get a foothold and take over your lawn. Plus, it just looks nicer, as many a homeowner can attest to.

So cutting the grass is actually a positive thing for a healthy lawn. And of course, for your relationship with your neighbours. Is there anything you should know about the how-to of grass cutting though? Professional golf greens don’t have to have anything up on you to make your lawn the pride of the neighbourhood. You just need a little common sense and the right tools for the job.

Step 1: Make sure that your lawn mower’s blade is sharp. A sharp blade will cut through the grass. A dull blade tears the grass, leaving an uneven cut, which makes your lawn look uneven. Plus, this makes it vulnerable to drought, disease and other pests.

Step 2: Walk over the lawn beforehand in order to pick up any toys, branches or other debris, before starting to cut the grass.

Step 3: Set your mower’s blade to an appropriate height. The recommended amount of grass to cut at any one time is approximately 1/3 of its height. While you might think that cutting your grass shorter will save you work, you aren’t doing any favours for your lawn. In fact, leaving your lawn at a slightly longer length will protect it during drought. It also encourages more upright growth, deeper roots and more shade tolerance.

Step 4: Ensure that your mower is properly fuelled. That means checking your oil (should be changed at least once a year) and adding gas as necessary. Don’t refuel your mower on the grass, as any spills will damage your grass, plus could be a fire hazard.

*While those of you with an electric mower might think you are ahead of the game, remember that you are limited in distance by your cord. You must also watch out not run over the cord while mowing!

Step 5: Wear appropriate garb for lawn mowing. That means closed-toe shoes and long pants my friends. You also might want to put on some protective covering for your ears, as lawn mowers tend to be loud machines.

Step 6: Start ‘er up and get cutting! Mow around the perimeter first, then cut back and forth across the lawn. As you cut your grass, overlap your rows. Over subsequent cuttings, mow in opposite directions so as not to compact the soil.

Lawn

Lawn (Photo credit: प्रतीक)

Now you have a perfectly cut lawn! Awesome, but there are a few other things to consider;

  • NEVER cut the grass when wet. It increases the likelihood of slipping, which is an accident waiting to happen. Also, it can clog the discharge chute of your mower, which you don’t want. If you don’t have a bagger, it makes for a more difficult clean-up as well (wet grass sticks to EVERYTHING). Plus, you can compact the soil.
  • NEVER leave a running lawn mower unattended. That is another accident in the making.
  • Save your mowing for the daytime. While it really doesn’t matter what time of day, cutting the grass in the dark increases the likelihood of accidents, as you cannot see where you are mowing or what you might run over.
  • Leave your grass clippings on the lawn. They are a free source of organic fertilizer, which improves the state of your lawn. Plus, you don’t have to worry about bagging them for compost days or the garbage. You should only worry about leaving grass clippings on the lawn if they are excessively long or if they are full of weeds (you will be helping to spread those weeds if you leave them there).
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