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Tips for a Picture-Perfect Lawn

Mowing

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Ensure your mower blades are sharp before you start cutting to achieve an even cut, reduced mowing time, and a healthier lawn.

Choosing the right mower makes all the difference in maintaining your lawn. For starters, the type of mower you need is directly related to the size of your yard. For smaller yards, a manual mower is a great choice; it’s also free from emissions and won’t disturb your neighbours with any noise. If your yard is average to large in size, a propelled mower is your best option to help get the job done quickly. Look for one with all-wheel drive features for better balance and power on hilly, uneven terrain and other tough mowing conditions. If you’re cutting an area larger than 3000 m2, look into ride-on varieties that will make the big job more manageable and reduce the time you spend working on the yard.

If you love a tidy lawn or have springtime allergies, a lawnmower with a collection system is ideal. It neatly collects the clippings as you work, making cleanup hassle-free. These types of mowers are also great if you are working near a pool. Alternatively, you can mow so the cutting deck is aimed away from the pool and have someone use a leaf blower to direct the clippings away from the water.

Really making your lawn flourish takes a little more than just revving up the mower and running it across the yard. The height at which you set the cutting deck, as well as how often you mow, play a key role in maintaining a healthy lawn. For the spring, you don’t want to start cutting until the lawn has actively started growing again. Choosing the right mower height depends on your species of grass and climate; however, a general rule is to mow slightly lower in the spring and fall, and higher in the summer.

Many homeowners are tempted to cut their grass low, as it reduces the number of times you have to mow, but cutting your grass too short is harmful to your lawn in the long run. Commonly referred to as scalping, chopping off the majority of the grass blade reduces the amount of energy the roots receive, which makes for a weak lawn that is more susceptible to stress, insects, and disease. Scalping also encourages weed growth, since without the dense grass blades to block light, weeds can quickly dominate and ruin your lawn. Also, in some climates the exposed stems of scalped lawns can be damaged by a sudden spring frost or heat wave, as without the blade’s shade, the soil loses water more quickly.

Before you start cutting, be sure your mower blades are sharp and cutting cleanly. A sharp, balanced blade cuts faster and cleaner, so you’ll have an even cut and reduced mowing time. A clean cut also results in a healthier lawn, as mowing with a dull blade tears and rips the grass apart, leaving it more susceptible to disease. To combat this, get your blades sharpened at your local dealer before the gardening season kicks off and also have them checked to ensure everything is in tune for the season.

Ever wondered how groundskeepers keep golf courses so nicely groomed? Try mowing in the opposite direction of your last cut. Mowing in the same direction every time takes a toll on your lawn and forces the grass to grow in one direction. If you really want your lawn to stand out, you can stripe it as you mow. Stripes are created when grass leaf blades reflect sunlight as you mow rows into the lawn in opposite directions. You’ll notice this mostly done on sports fields where the grass blades that are bent in the direction you are mowing appear as light green stripes and the blades bent toward you appear to be a darker shade of green.

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