Lawn Mowing 101

Lawn Mowing 101

Proper mowing not only leads to an attractive lawn, but also increases the density of your grass, ensuring that it stays healthy and vibrant. Improper mowing, on the other hand, can cause trouble, opening up your lawn to environmental stresses.

To protect your grass and have the best looking lawn on the block, follow these mowing tips:

  1. Choose the Ideal Mower
  2. Know When to Mow and How Much to Cut
  3. Match Grass Type to Recommended Mowing Heights
  4. Maintain Your Mower and Your Fresh-Cut Grass
Choose the Ideal Mower

The right lawnmower provides a smooth, clean cut, time after time. Choose from one of these mower varieties:

  • Manual reel mower: Manual push mowers are environmentally friendly and quiet. This is a good choice for small, flat lawns.
  • Electric mower: Corded and cordless (battery-operated) electric mowers are less noisy than gas mowers and great for small yards. Corded mowers require access to an electrical outlet, and battery-operated types may require a re-charge mid-mow.
  • Gas-Powered Push Mower: Gas engine, walk-behind mowers are more powerful and easier to maneuver than manual and electric types. They are ideal for medium-sized lawns.
  • Riding Mower/Lawn Tractor: For large or sloped lawns, a riding mower or lawn tractor is the best option, allowing you to get a big job done fast.
  • Mulching Mower: Acting as mulch suppliers, mulching mowers chop grass clippings and drop them to the ground as you mow. They have several benefits, including increasing the addition of nutrients and beneficial microorganisms into the soil.1
Know When to Mow and How Much to Cut

While regular mowing is the key to a healthy lawn, avoid setting a firm mowing schedule. How often you cut your grass should depend not on the date, but rather on grass growth*, which is affected by the season and your grass type.

The general rule of thumb is to remove no more than one-third of the grass blade each time you mow. Cutting more than that reduces the carbohydrates stored in the turf that enable the grass to continue to grow. Remove too much, and turf becomes less likely to withstand environmental stresses, such as pests, diseases and weeds.2

Proper mowing height is especially important during summer months, when grass is stressed by heat. During periods of warm weather, opt for the higher mowing heights. Mow only when the grass is dry; wet grass clumps and won't cut evenly.

Newly seeded and overseeded grass should not be mowed until all of the seed has sprouted and the lawn has reached one-and-half times its recommended height. When mowing the first two times, cut as high as the mower allows.
Lush Green Grass
Use the following chart to determine grass height ranges and mower settings for specific grass types. 2, 3, 4, 5 If your lawn grass should be kept at 2 inches high, for instance, set your mower to that height and mow when it reaches a height of 3 inches.

Grass Type Mowing Heights (in inches)
Lawn-mowing Height Chart
Maintain Your Mower and Your Fresh-Cut Grass

Proper maintenance is the key to a thick and healthy lawn. Perform these tasks on a regular basis to ensure your turf always looks its best.
Red Lawn Mower

Maintain your mower: Sharpen mower blades every fourth mowing.6 Dull blades create ragged cuts, and uneven grass can increase the risk of pests and diseases.
Change mowing patterns: Encourage upright even growth by refraining from mowing in the same direction each time, as grass tends to lean in the direction it's mowed.
Feed the lawn after mowing: Fertilize according to your grass type with Pennington® Ultragreen® Lawn Fertilizer 34-0-4. after cutting your lawn. This will ensure that you don't dislodge fertilizer while mowing. Avoid over-fertilizing, as that can lead to thatch buildup — a thick, brown layer of grassroots and stems —which will require you to dethatch the turf and mow more often.6
Conclusion:

A properly mowed lawn is a beautiful sight. Follow these tips on how to mow your lawn correctly, and you can enjoy a yard full of healthy, green grass.

*Newly seeded lawns may take one to two months of establishment before they're ready to be mowed.

Pennington and Ultragreen are registered trademarks of Pennington Seed, Inc.

Resources:

1. C.R. Wilson and T. Koski, "Eliminate Grass Clipping Collection," Colorado State University Extension, March 2014.

2. Marcus Jones, et. al, "Mowing Your Lawn," Iowa State University Extension, August 2009.

3. K. W. Frank, et. al, "Mowing Lawn Turf (E0013TURF)," Michigan State University Extension, June 8, 2015.

4. "Lawn Mowing Heights," University of California Cooperative Extension, Agriculture and Natural Resources Ventura County, 2015.

5. John R. Street and William E. Pound, "Mowers and Mowing," Ohio State University Extension.

6. T. Koski and V. Skinner, "Lawn Care," Colorado State University Extension, March 2012.

Lawn Maintenance