Guide to Mowing the Lawn

Mowing the lawn is one of the key steps to having a green, healthy lawn. Grass that is regularly cut will from a dense mat of growth that will inhibit the germination and spread of weeds.

Begin at the Beginning
Before you begin lawn mowing, you'll need to prepare the mower and your yard.

Make sure that it's time to mow. As a rule of thumb, it's time to mow when the grass has grown 1/3 longer than normal. Mowing more frequently won't allow the grass to recover after being cut. Mow less frequently, and grass will become straggly and leave long, unsightly clippings.

Look sharp. At least once a year, get your lawn mower serviced and the blade sharpened. A dull blade will mangle your grass rather than cutting it. If your lawn mowing leaves the tips of the grass white, it's time to get your blade sharpened.

Clean up. Take a walk through your yard and check for debris. Sticks and rocks become missiles when hurled from a mower. Moving toys or lawn furniture will also make your job easier.
Adjust accordingly. Make sure your blade height is adjusted correctly. Check your user's manual and adjust the blade so that you're only cutting 1/3 off the height of the grass.

Mow Smart
Start at the edge. As you begin lawn mowing, run the mower around the perimeter of your yard once or twice. This will create a mowed edge that will allow you to turn the mower without missing any spots.
Keep things straight. To cut your fist line across the yard, pick an object across the yard then push the mower toward it. Try to keep the mower moving as straight as possible while watching your landmark. Continue pushing the mower back and forth across the lawn, overlapping your last pass by about 1/3.

Leave the clippings. If you have the option, allow the grass clippings to stay on the lawn. They decay quickly and provide your lawn with free fertilizer.

Look like a pro. To make your lawn look like the outfield of a pro stadium, attach a rubber welcome mat to the back of your mower-the mat will press the grass down in the direction you're mowing and create a sweet looking pattern.

End With A Nice Trim
Just because you've covered the entire lawn, doesn't mean you're finished. A complete lawn mowing job means edging and trimming as well. An edger will do a great job of cutting the grass along the edge of your sidewalks and driveway. A line trimmer will cut stray grass blades along bedding edges and in tight corners. Don't use a line trimmer around trees; the line trimmer will wreck the bark at ground level. Use hand trimmers around trees and delicate plants.

When You're Finished
When the job is complete, sweep up any debris left behind. Make sure to hose off your mower to clean it from dust, dirt or stray clippings. If you've collected the clippings, try to recycle them either through your local waste management system or by creating a compost pile.

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