A lush, green lawn is what brings you outdoors in spring and summer. After all, who doesn’t want to sink their feet into velvety, thick, carpet-like grass? It instantly melts your stress away.
Obtaining a thriving, healthy lawn like this takes some work. To avoid unsightly spots, bare patches and yellow grass, you need to care for it. If you neglect it, you might not have much to sink your toes into.
Part of caring for your lawn is mowing it properly. In fact, a natural part of summer is smelling that fresh cut grass in the air.
Grass grows faster in late spring and early summer as a result of warmer temperatures and plentiful sunlight. This is what makes regular mowing necessary.
But you might be wondering if you’re mowing correctly and how it should be done to keep your lawn in the best shape possible to ensure a thick, green stand.
Let’s review some lawn mowing tips and tricks to give you the green grass guidance you need.
Top 8 Lawn Mowing Tips for Northern Virginia
Northern Virginia is a great place to live, and the summer is the best time. Everything is blooming and there are green shoots and new blooms all around you.
And this vibrant growth means mowing your lawn is added back to the to-do list.
Just like anything, there are right and wrong ways to go about mowing your lawn. Mow correctly, and your grass rewards you by growing thicker and looking healthier. Mow incorrectly, and you could damage your lawn to the point of no return.
Follow these tips for mowing your lawn to ensure success.
#1. Sharp Mower Blades Make a Difference
Have you ever had your hair cut with dull scissors? It’s not a fun experience and doesn’t result in the crisp clean lines you’re used to. You won’t find a quality hairdresser who doesn’t have sharp scissors to ensure accuracy, as well as an efficient, quick, precise cut.
The same can be said for mower blades. A vital tip for mowing your lawn is to keep your mower blades sharp. A sharp mower blade cuts the grass evenly versus ripping it. A ripped blade leaves openings that can give pests and diseases chances to sneak in and wreak havoc.
You can tell if you don’t have sharp mower blades if you see whitish tips on your grass blades.
#2. Mow to the Correct Height
The optimum Northern Virginia lawn height is 3.5 to 4 inches.
The reason this is the best length is because it is what your lawn likes for optimum health and low stress, giving it the ability to better repel weds.
You might think cutting your lawn short will save you time outside mowing. Or you might be trying to emulate the look of your favorite golf course green. We hate to break it to you but cutting your lawn too short can be detrimental to your grass. It can make it weak and sparse, exposing soil and letting weeds sneak in. It can also cause stress, resulting in yellowing or browning grass blades.
How does this happen? When the entire surface of your grass blade is shorter, it actually throws off the photosynthesis process in the plant. So the plant concentrates its food resources to its short grass blades to try and grow them, instead of sending any food to the roots and stems. This can cause undernourishment and open your lawn up to drought stress and other issues.
When it comes to the ultimate lawn mowing tip and trick, definitely don’t try and buzz cut your lawn. You’ll thank us later when your grass looks amazing because you let it embrace its favorite height of 3.5 to 4 inches.
#3. Never Remove Too Much Grass At Once
During the growing season, when you’re keeping your grass to the ideal 3.5- to 4-inch height, this means you will likely end up mowing your lawn weekly.
Many times, people are tempted to cut their lawn really short to save them time when they know they’ll be too busy to mow. Maybe they have a vacation coming up or extended travel plans or a couple busy weekends with the kids.
As we mentioned with cutting your grass too short, you can also cut too much of your lawn off at one time, which is also a big stressor for your grass blades, causing similar problems, such as discoloration, potential for more weeds, and the possibility of thinner areas and more bare spots.
A key tip for mowing your lawn: You never want to remove more than one-third of the grass blade at any one time. And, when you’re doing this, remember you’re trying to reach that end height of approximately 3.5 to 4 inches.
#4. Mow Dry Grass, Not Wet Grass
Mowing when your lawn is dry ensures you can result in a cleaner cut. Why? Wet grass blades can clump together and topple to one side, resulting in a raggedy cut.
In addition to that, the wet clumps can clog your mower deck, and then as you go you’re leaving clumps in random places and have to go back and pick them up.
#5. Avoid Mowing in the Hot Sun
Mowing your lawn is necessary, but also a stressful process for your grass, so using tips to mow your lawn properly help limit that stress so your lawn can recover.
Mowing in the hot sun is another no-no. Waiting until your lawn is shaded or mowing it during the cooler times of day helps your grass lose less water in the process.
#6. Don’t Rush Lawn Mowing
You could be in a hurry over the weekend, trying to finish mowing so you can move on to your next activity, but you don’t want to speed walk your mowing.
For optimum cut quality, you want to be walking at a normal pace, maybe 3 miles per hour. This tip for mowing your lawn helps you avoid uneven shearing or grass that clumps and is then poorly mulched.
#7. Vary Your Mowing Patterns
You might enjoy mowing your lawn a specific way every time you mow. As creatures of habit, we all love repetitive rituals that have worked for us in the past.
However, with lawns, it’s better to vary your mowing pattern. THis ensures you don’t create ruts in the soil or overly compact it in the same areas. Weeds like to take advantage of compacted areas, so this is another way to prevent more weeds.
Our lawn mowing tip and trick: Shake up your mowing strategy to keep your grass happy and find some fun new patterns you can make in your lawn. Checked. Striped. Diagonal lines. The options are endless … and fun.
#8. Recycle Your Grass Clippings
Mulch it or bag it? For the best lawn health, you want to leave your grass clippings on your lawn to return nutrients and nitrogen to the grass. This is one tip for mowing your lawn you don’t want to forget because it’s a simple step that really benefits your lawn.
Bagging your clippings not only takes time, but also costs money to trash. Plus, your back may thank you later when it’s not sore from picking up all those grass clippings.
The only thing you want to avoid is clumps on your lawn; even if you’re mulching your clippings, picking those up is important in case your mower accidentally hits a wet spot or clumps instead of mulching a small section of grass.
Other Important Lawn Care Tips and Strategies
In addition to learning lawn mowing tips and tricks, you want to make sure you’re doing other things to keep your lawn’s health in top-notch shape.
This includes proper and regular fertilization applications based on a soil test to determine what your soil is lacking. Additionally, pre- and post-emergent weed control can ensure weeds stay away, and annual aeration, overseeding, and topdressing to keep compaction at a minimum and thicken up your lawn. You can also make regular checks for insects like grubs to ensure they aren’t invading your lawn.
This additional lawn care work can be quite a bit to tackle. Having a professional step in to help can take some of this burden off of your shoulders. It might even save you money and time by trusting a professional to accurate application timing, weed and insect identification, and lawn care knowledge.
Lawn Care Help is On the Way
We hope these lawn mowing tips for Northern Virginia help you better care for your beloved green grass this spring and summer.
Give one or more of these tips a try and let us know how they work for you. We have seen them work well over the years on many local lawns through our experience that they work again and again.
If you want to ask some questions about lawn mowing tips or want to dive deeper into other lawn care strategies you should be doing, give Turf’s Up a call. We offer professional services based on years of lawn care experience and can help you solve your lawn issues quickly and simply, so you can spend time enjoying your lawn instead of constantly thinking about what you should be doing to it.
Take back your weekends and make memories this summer; your lawn makes the perfect backdrop for good times.
Ready to learn why Turf’s Up could be your totally awesome choice for lawn care services in Northern Virginia? We’re stoked to learn more about you and help you have the best lawn on the block. Get started today with a free quote. Together, we can prepare a customized plan that is perfect for you and your lawn.