Yard-maintenance companies will tell you that only their experts know how to mow a lawn beautifully every time. But with these expert mowing techniques recommended by Bill Klutho, gardening guru at the John Deere tractor company, you can have a lawn as smooth as the fairways at Pebble Beach, without paying the “greens fees” demanded by lawn professionals.
1. Alternate your mowing route. Lawns that are mowed the same direction every time develop unsightly stripes that may grow back irregularly. To avoid creating a pattern that lasts all season, alternate mowing one direction across the lawn the first time and then perpendicular to this direction the next time.
2. Mow early. For the best cut, mow in mid to late morning, when it’s cool but the morning dew has dried off.
3. Take your time. Don’t speed through mowing, because you may miss spots. While you’re mowing in a wide-open area, stay in control by keeping your mower on a medium speed setting. Throttle down to lower speeds when you’re turning corners and trimming borders for a closer cut.
4. Adhere to the one-third rule. For a healthy lawn, never remove more than one-third of the grass blade at one time.
5. Don’t cut your grass too short. Grass about 3 inches (8cm) tall usually looks better, encourages a deeper root system, and helps prevent weeds from invading.
6. Keep your blade sharp. Sharp lawn mower blades produce a well-manicured lawn, and clean cuts promote better grass health. Use a mill bastard file or a grinding wheel to sharpen the blade, maintaining the blade-surface angle that came from the manufacturer.
7. Water infrequently but deeply. In most parts of North America, lawns need about an inch of water per week during the growing season.