Mowing your lawn may seem like a pretty straightforward task, but there’s an art to it! By mowing strategically, you can ensure that your grass stays healthy and pest-free. Plus, it never hurts to leave the neighbors wondering why, for them, the grass really is always greener on the other side.
Know the right height. Optimal grass height is not a myth. It may be tempting to give your lawn a Marine-style buzz to delay the next mowing session, but the trauma of a close cut will weaken your grass. This makes your lawn prone to weed growth, which will force you to mow more often (since weeds grow faster). The optimal height for your grass will vary depending on the type. To see the ideal ranges for some common types of grass, check out this chart from New Mexico State University.
Abide by the 1/3 rule. Regardless of how often you need to mow, keep this simple rule of thumb in mind: only cut 1/3 of your grass’s length at any given time. That means that if the best length for your type of grass is 2 inches, you should let it grow to 3 inches and then cut it down by 1/3. This will ensure you don’t stress your grass out by over-trimming.
Keep your mower blades sharp. This will give your grass a cleaner cut, which makes it less vulnerable to disease and pests.
Avoid mowing when it’s wet. As much as possible, mowing dry grass is preferable. Your grass will stand upright when it’s dry, which makes it less likely to clump when it’s cut. Plus, if you mow when the lawn is really wet, you run the risk of packing the soil down so the roots can’t breathe (read: dead patches of grass).
Leave your clippings. As long as your grass clipping aren’t clumping, it’s best to leave them on your lawn. Not only with this save you the hassle of bagging them and throwing them away, but the clippings essentially work as free fertilizer. Tip: Mow so that your clippings spray on the grass you’ve already cut.
Switch up your pattern. There’s some pretty heavy debate about what type of mowing pattern is best. Some people prefer rows, others swear by the spiral. Here’s our take: do both! If you mow in the same pattern every time, your grass will eventually start growing (and bending) in a specific direction. By keeping your grass on its toes, you’ll foster straighter growth.