Six Tips for Spring Mowing
Published on Thu, 03/16/2017 - 8:00am
If it hasn’t happened already where you are, it’s only a matter of a few weekends until your lawn awakes from its winter sleep. So before you pull the starting cord on your mower—but after having changed oil, cleaned air filter, sharpened blades and made a safety check, right?—keep these six tips in mind for early spring mowing.
1. Set your mower high
First, clear your yard of any and all debris, including sticks, twigs, and matted leaves. Then set your mower high enough that only about the top 1/4 of the grass is clipped—think “trim” not “shave.” In the spring you want as much light as possible on the lawn to encourage early growth and a strong stand. Later in the season, drop it slightly.
2. Mow only when grass is dry
Mowing a wet lawn only encourages matting of clippings and likely damage from mower tires. Not only that, but the weight of water droplets actually bends the grass, so you won’t get a good mow anyway. Wait until wind or sun has dried the lawn.
3. Vary your mowing pattern
Nobody should be in a rut, especially on your lawn. A lawn fill of ruts simply won’t look good. Try mowing in different directions, even diagonals, for a pleasing mowing pattern.
4. Mow only when needed
“Lawn therapy” isn’t really a thing, so if your lawn goes dormant or slows down in hot or dry periods, step back and enjoy the hiatus.
5. Leave grass clippings behind
To bag or not to bag, that is the question. The smart money goes with “no bagging,” since leaving short clippings behind returns vital nutrients to the soil and thatch level. Your lawn will thank you for it with robustness, able to withstand rigors of summer heat or drought.
6. Keep your blades sharp
If you’ve ever been forced to shave with a dull razor blade, you know the feeling it produces: rough and uneven. This is true with your mower blades, and the rule of thumb for professionals is “the sharper, the better.” If you typically hear sticks or stones rattling around beneath the mower deck, plan on touching up the blade edges every couple of weeks.