An well-maintained lawn is an asset every homeowner works to achieve. Not only does it improve the appearance of your house, it stands out on the block as yardstick by which other gardeners and homeowners can measure their lawns. Proper cutting is as important as watering and fertilizing your lawn, because it affects its appearance as well as its health. Follow a few simple pointers for cutting your lawn properly yourself as opposed to hiring and paying a lawn service.
Selecting and Maintaining a Lawn Mower
Buy or rent a lawn mower depending on your personal taste and allocated budget. Read the owner's manual or operating guide prior to operation to understand its features and how to use it properly. Wear sturdy shoes, earplugs, eye goggles and clothes that offer some degree of protection. Clear the lawn of tools or furniture, and make sure there are no children or pets on the lawn while you work. Clean the blades after every use, and sharpen them professionally several times during the season. Change the oil once during the mowing season so your machine works efficiently.
Allowing your lawn grass to grow too tall prior to cutting it is a common mistake many gardeners make. This shades the soil, prevents new growth and impedes air circulation at soil level. Always set the blade height on your pull or push lawn mower at medium setting to keep the grass between 1 ½ and 2 ½ inches tall. Shorter than this makes grass susceptible to pests and disease. It also prevents it from retaining water, thus requiring more frequent watering. Remember not to cut more than one-third of lawn's length at each cutting.
Cut in Rows
Always cut your lawn in rows, starting from a different direction each time to encourage the grass to grow back straight. Cutting in straight rows gives the lawn an even look and ensures you cut all grass blades without missing any. Also make sure you never cut grass when it is wet.
Use Beneficial Grass Clippings
Remove the grass-clippings collection bag from your lawn mower so the clippings are allowed to fall freely over mowed lawn grass. These clippings do not cause buildup of thatch as most people think, but decompose to add important nutrients to the soil, resulting in healthy grass growth.
Cut Lawn Grass Often
Cut your lawn grass often, once every week, to maintain the overall look and appearance. This also encourages grass to grow back thick and lush.