Mowing Lawns Best Cutting Height and Patterns

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Lawn Mowing is an important step in organic lawn care.  The best way to mow grass is probably different from what you’ve been doing.  What height should the mower deck be set at and the best lawn mowing patterns are some of subjects being asked.

Another concern is maintaining the lawn equipment.  Safety, sharp blades, oil level, mower deck height and how to leave the best mowing pattern are the main issues when it comes to lawn mowing.

Mowing the lawn is the dreaded weekly chore that coincides with the American dream of owning a home. If you have children, you realize how lucky you are when they get old enough to be mowing a lawn.

Sure there are alternatives to traditional mowers to cut the grass but unless you have a postage stamp size lot, cutting grass with a gas-powered machine is the best way to mow a lawn.

I’m concerned about the ecosystem as much as the next person but environmentally friendly mowers are not practical unless you have a very small lawn cutting area. Same goes for reel mowers. I’m sure it won’t be long before the gas-powered mower is extinct but in the mean time it’s how to cut grass.


Does Your Lawn Mowing Have to be
100% Environmentally Friendly?

Best Lawn Mowing Height and Patterns
Then There Is Really Only One Answer
When you fertilize lawns the traditional way, with chemicals, the grass quickly sucks in the nutrients available. Throw in a rainy day, and the grass is growing like crazy for a few weeks. All that ends up being is lots of needless work

Organic lawns have a sustained food supply enabling the grass to grow at a consistent natural pace.


Best Way to Mow a Lawn

Something as simple as how to lawn mow correctly is one of the most important practices in implementing a successful organic program.  What height to set the mower is one of the most important aspects of cutting the grass.

Traditionally people cut grass way to short and bag the clippings. While the individual has good intentions, their extra labor is causing future problems with their lawn.

Mow a lawn shorter than 1/3 of the grass-blade and it is detrimental to the health of the plant. It’s too much of a shock, too much stress especially when it’s hot. Cut grass too short and it reduces water retention and overall it’s an invite for other problems like insects and disease.

best lawn mowing heightI know sometimes it is tough to keep up with grass cutting especially during rainy periods or if you go on vacation but do your best.  If grass does clump, just break it up with a rake or a blower. Try to only mow a lawn when it’s dry, if you can. Not using chemicals will also benefit you by keeping the lawn growing slow and steady.

Another essential habit to get used to is to leave the clippings on the lawn. I’m not talking about leaving big clumps of grass on top of the lawn. If you cut grass when it’s dry and only remove a 1/3 of the blade it should disperse nicely. The clippings dry and decompose quickly feeding the bacteria in the soil which in turn feeds the lawn with nitrogen. Or should I say Free Fertilizer!

Don’t bag the clippings when you cut the lawn and you’re applying one pound of free nitrogen to your grass. Saving you money and time with less impact on the environment.

Grass Clippings From Lawn Mowing Do not Cause Thatch


One of the most important aspects of organic weed control is to be able to shade potential germinating weed seeds. That is accomplished by cutting a lawn at 3 – 3 1/2 inches.

While it makes a great weed block, it also cools the soil and plant crown during the stress of summer.  Mow at 3 inches along with achieving dense turf will prevent sunlight from hitting the soil and the weed seed that lies on it, thus cutting down on the chances of germination.

While Bermuda and other grasses need to be cut at 1 inch, Centipede between 1/2 and 2 inches and bent grass even shorter than 1/2 inch, not cutting a lawn short is an important practice that should be followed for most other grass types.

Plus, there is more of the grass-blade showing allowing your lawn to absorb sunlight, water and nutrients to mention it looks like greener grass and it appears thicker.

If you have a landscaper cutting your lawn, tell them what you want and why. It’s best for soil, grass and your pocketbook.


Maintaining the Lawn Mower is Very Important

Keeping the blades sharpened and balanced is very important to the health of the grass-blade. The picture below demonstrates a lawn cutting with dull blades.

mowing lawns bladesHaving a clean mower deck will insure the grass clippings will disperse well.  A clean mowing deck will not impede the exiting cuttings.
Don’t under-estimate the importance of maintenance of the mower.  Without a well running machine, you can’t cut the grass.  If you don’t mow on a weekly basis, the lawn gets high and just creates more work.
Having to rent or borrow a lawn mower stinks so having a check list before and after you cut the lawn is important.
Here are a few maintenance items you should consider
  • Check the mower oil
  • Grease fittings
  • Sharpen blades
  • Scrape deck after disconnecting spark plug
  • Replace spark plug occasionally
  • Clean or replace air filter
  • Adjust throttle
  • Hose or blow off lawn mower when done
  • Don’t let children play around landscape equipment

Just simply changing the oil and a new spark plug every spring takes a great deal of frustration out of cutting grass.

Remember to empty the gas tank after the last cut of the year and if you forget, certainly empty it before you start the mower in the spring.

As always, be safe around mowers and gasoline

  • Wear protective glasses
  • Disconnect the spark plug before removing the mower blade to sharpen
  • Never leave from behind a mower that is running with the blades engaged

Safety First When Lawn Mowing

I’ve had to let go of some otherwise good employees because of repeated safety infractions.

No excuse…Safety First

How to Make the Best Mowing Patterns so the Lawn Looks Like a Baseball Field

Lawn mowing is a lot of work.  We all know how nice a freshly cut lawn can look if it is done correctly.  Everyone is awed when they see a professional baseball field and how the grass cutting patterns stand out.

You spend hours getting rid of weeds, fertilizing the lawn so the grass is green.  So why do a sloppy job with the mowing patterns.  It’s the final touch. It’s what makes your yard nicer than your neighbors.

The best mowing patterns have the straightest lines.  You don’t see crooked lines or curves on a sports field.  Keeping the same mower width consistently is also to important to achieve the best patterns.

Mow in nice straight lines back and forth. It can take a little effort so you might as well have it look great. Remember, it’s always lighter mowing paths going away and darker lines coming back at you.

Sports Field Mowing Patterns and Lawn Striping

Mowing a Lawn the Smart Way Minimizes Hard Work




1 Comment

  1. More lovely points! It’s true that grass is best kept at 3-3.5″ however since our grass cutting occurs on a weekly basis we must mow lower so that grass will stay reasonable length for the entire week. With intense water and fertilizer, mowing could be done every 2 days. This kind of lushness, at high height ends up like a hay field after a week. We made a video and post about how we vary mowing heights through the season as well.

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