How to Start Lawn Mowing

Overview

Every weekend, thousands of households across America pull out their lawn mowers and begin the weekly lawn mowing ritual. Mowing does more than just keep your grass manicured. It also helps to maintain the health and density of the turf grass. If you've recently come into possession of a new lawn, start mowing as the first step in proper lawn care and grass maintenance.

Step 1

Allow the new lawn to grow to a height that's 150 percent of the recommended normal mowing height suggested by the University of California. For example, colonial bentgrass should be mowed at 1 1/2 inches, so you should wait until the bentgrass is 2 1/4 inches tall before giving it its first trim.

Step 2

Set the lawn mower's cutting height to no lower than 2/3 of the lawn's current height. Cutting more than a third of the lawn's current height at a time places extreme stress on the grass. If you're unsure of how to set the mower's height, consult the appliance's user manual since settings vary according to the manufacturer and specific product.

Step 3

Wait for a dry day before giving the lawn its first mowing. Wet lawn soil compacts easily and may crush the lawn's roots while wet grass can clog the mower.

Step 4

Start mowing. Turn on the lawn mower--starting mechanisms vary by product and may include a single push-button or a string that needs pulling--and push the mower across the lawn in straight paths. Overlap each path so you don't miss any of the grass.

Step 5

Mow again three to four days later to cut the grass down to its recommended height. Alternate the mowing direction from when you first mowed. For example, if you mowed north to south, mow east to west this time. Switching directions every time you mow keeps the grass from being trained to grow in a certain direction, according to Ohio State University.

Step 6

Continue mowing once a week or as needed to maintain the grass at its recommended height.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't remove the lawn clippings from the lawn surface after you've mowed the grass. Doing so robs the lawn of valuable nutrients that are returned to the soil as the clippings decompose.

Things You'll Need

  • Lawn mower

References

  • "The Lawn Bible: How to Keep It Green, Groomed, and Growing Every Season of the Year"; David Mellor; 2003
  • University of California: Mowing New Lawns
  • Ohio State University: Lawn Mowing

Who Can Help

  • University of California: Lawn Mowing Heights
Keywords: start lawn mowing, mowing new lawns, lawn mowing tips

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.