Lawn Care Guidelines
The old saying is that the grass is always greener on the other side. If that's true, you can bet it's because your neighbour knows how to take care of his lawn properly. Like all things in life, your lawn requires care and dedication in order to be its healthy green best. Luckily, taking care of your lawn is a simple enough task, but you must be diligent in your work. Knowing how often and when to mow your lawn, in addition to getting more familiar with the specific needs of your lawn serve as beneficial tools in maintaining a healthy lawn.
When to Mow Your Lawn
Knowing when to mow the lawn is the first and most important step in taking care of your lawn. In order for your grass to remain healthy, mowing frequently is encouraged; otherwise, your grass will become pale from lack of growth. Similarly, however, mowing too often can leave your lawn weak and deprived of nutrients, leaving ugly brown patches throughout your lawn.
So When do you Mow Your Lawn
The answer has everything to do with where you live, your climate and how often it rains. The type of grass you have also plays a role in how often it'll need cutting, as well as how large your plot of lawn is. Having multiple acres of grass would require larger, sit-in (or sit on) tractor type mowers, which are regularly available at stores and garden machinery specialists that sell lawn mowers, either online or in store.
You could consider the manufacturer brands of Kubota, Honda, and Viking for the larger sit in mowers, and Atco, Black & Decker, Bosch, Flymo, Makita, and Qualcast (amongst many others) for smaller, hand-propelled (push) and self-driven mowers.
Different grasses grow at different paces and are healthiest at certain heights. In order to know when you mow your lawn, you have to know the sort of grass you have. Below is a table that includes the type of grass and its preferred height in both inches and centimetres.
Grass Type Preferred Height (inches) Preferred Height (cm)
Annual Ryegrass 2 – 2.5” 5 – 6.5
Bahiagrass 2 – 3” 5 – 7.5
Bermuda Grass 1 – 1.5” 2.5 – 4
Centipede Grass 1.5 – 2” 4 – 5
Fine Fescue 2 – 2.5” 5 – 6.5
Kentucky Bluegrass 2.5 – 3” 6.5 – 7.5
Perennial Ryegrass 2 – 2.5” 5 – 6.5
St. Augustine Grass 2 – 3” 5 – 7.5
Tall Fescue 2.5 – 3.5” 6.5 – 9
Zoysia Grass 1 – 2” 2.5 – 5
However, if you're unaware of what type of grass you have, or if you have a mixture, there's also a rule of thumb to consider before mowing your law. When mowing the lawn in your garden, never remove more than an approximate third of its current height. Doing so will severely damage the grass in your lawn and weaken its overall health. Your lawn will become bristly and dry, and look unappealing. If cutting your lawn by a third won't reduce it to an acceptable height, you'll be required to cut your lawn more frequently throughout the week.
If your lawn becomes too high or long, reduce the lawn's height by one third, and then gradually reduce its height over the course of a few weeks. Failure to do so, or rushing in to immediately cut off the excess grass height may lead to stunted grass growth, or patches of pale grass. Cutting off too much of your lawn's overall height at once stresses the grass and removes the healthy parts of the grass, which leads to sick or dying grass in your lawn
Remember, you want to gradually mow down the height of your lawn. Cutting it all down at once is a bad idea if you're looking for a healthy and lush looking beautiful green lawn.
How to Mow Your Lawn
The next step of producing a healthy lawn is knowing the proper way to mow your lawn. Like knowing when to mow, understanding the best method for mowing your lawn ensures a healthy, green lawn and fewer weeds for you to pick and weed out in the future.
Mowing when the grass is dry is the best policy to stick to, as it will allow mowing to be faster and more thorough. When grass is dry (as opposed to wet), the blades stick up straighter. Wet grass clumps together and makes mowing a challenging endeavor. Moreover, wet grass tends to stick around after its cut, giving your lawn a rugged, unkempt texture that's not pleasing to the eye.
Be sure to avoid mowing your grass in the extreme heat, as your lawn may suffer from heat stress. In extreme heat, grass plants may shed unnecessary blades to keep their roots nourished and protected, which may lead to ugly brown patches in your grass. Similarly, if decide to mow your lawn in the middle of the day, or when the heat is at its highest, your lawn may suffer a similar fate. Be sure to mow your lawn in the cooler morning times, or evening times, to keep your grass from turning brown.
When mowing your lawn, remember to alternate between directions. Your lawn will develop a grain, and it's important to change directions to avoid developing ruts in your lawn, and maintain healthy, upstanding grass blades.
Before undertaking mowing, ensure that your mower's blades are sharp. Ragged blades increase the risk of disease and pests in your lawn.
If you're not bagging your clippings, consider using them to return nutrients and essential vitamins to your lawn. Because the top of the blade on each grass stem is the healthiest, these clippings are full of healthy essentials that can keep your grass growing and looking beautiful, while remaining perfectly healthy. Remove cuttings and clippings if they clump together, however, or form rows on your lawn.
Following these simple guidelines will help increase the overall health of your lawn, and help maintain a sustainable lawn mowing rotation.
Tools for a Healthy Lawn
In order to have a healthy, weed-free green lawn, it's important to have the right tools for the job at hand. Fertilizers are the multivitamins of the plant world, and provided boosts to much needed essential nutrients and vitamins. Fertilizers keep your lawn healthy and happy, promoting a lush, beautiful and disease free lawn. Fertilizers provide the additional nutrients needed to keep your lawn in the best condition and up to the standards that lawn owners expect. While fertilizer isn't necessary for your lawn to grow, it does provide additional support and serves as a multivitamin in that it wards off disease and keeps your lawn looking vibrant. However, before picking out a soil fertilizer, it's important to understand what the labels mean, and know exactly what it is that your soil needs.
Fertilizers are predominantly made up of three different elements: Nitrogen (N), Potassium (K) and Phosphorus (P). These are also the three elements your soil needs the most in order to produce a healthier lawn. Nitrogen is by far the most important, though it's important not to have too much nitrogen, as this can lead to excessive top growth, which brings its own assortment of problems.
When looking at a bag or tub of fertilizer, the percentage of nitrogen by weight is the first number of three present in describing fertilizer components, followed by phosphorus and potassium. The number that signifies nitrogen is important because this will give you an idea of how much fertilizer you'll need. Typically, fertilizers give a rate of how much nitrogen you'll need per a designated area of space, usually over a 100 square meters. Bear in mind that a fertilizer with a higher concentration of nitrogen is more potent, and requires less per 100 square meters. The recommended ratios for nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are either 3:1:2 or 4:1:2.
Another important consideration for fertilizers is the actual type of nitrogen in the fertilizer. Is it fast release, or controlled-release nitrogen? Most applications of fertilizers to lawn suggest controlled-release nitrogen. Below is a table that compares the advantages and disadvantages of fast-release and controlled-release fertilizers.
Nitrogen Type Advantages Disadvantages
Ammonium Sulphate Quick Response (for a greener grass faster)
Provides nitrogen when soil is cold
Relatively inexpensive - may cause undesirable flush of growth
Likely to burn grass
Water Insoluble Nitrogen
Activated Sewage Sludge More uniform grass growth
Unlikely to burn grass
Less effective with cold soil
Slower change in grass colour
Additionally, there’s also a variety of specialty fertilizers available at lawn care, or home-and-garden stores. Winterized fertilizers are typically high in potassium, and although advertised for fall application can be applied in spring as well. Potassium is used all year by grasses, and is involved in heat and cold tolerance, disease resistance, and other stress tolerances. Lawn starter products, typically high in phosphorus, are intended for newly seeded lawns and freshly laid sod.
Weed and feed products contain a broadleaf weed killer for weeds such as dandelions and others contain a pre-emergence herbicide to control crabgrass.
If you’re looking for a more organic approach to caring for your lawn, there are also varieties of organic sources of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium available, too. Organic fertilizers are derived from plant or animal sources. Plant sources would include alfalfa and cottonseed meal, as well as seaweed. Examples of animal sources would include bone meal and the manures from chickens, cows and horses. However, rock phosphate, which comes directly from nature, is an additional organic source of both phosphorus and potassium.
In addition to fertilizer and plant feed, another important tool for maintaining a healthy lawn is the actual lawn mower. Choosing the right lawn mower has everything to do with availability, pricing and the ability to perform the task you want your lawn mower to accomplish. For instance, Black & Decker models of lawn mowers are available in store and online for purchasing and shipping. They often come with easy to read instruction manuals and online guides. Honda is similar in its wide availability.
When considering a lawn mower, consider the following types of mowers, as well as their advantages and disadvantages.
Petrol Powered Mowers
Efficient, powerful and durable
Requires additional maintenance, such as annual oil changes and filter cleaning
Some models can be quite noisy, and hence the user will require ear protection
A greener solution to lawn mowing
Runs quieter than petrol engined mowers
Easy to start and operate – usually by way of a handle lever
Trailing mains cables and cords can oftentimes get in the way
Limited to your home’s electricity supply outlet
Don’t handle tall grass well
Rechargeable (Cordless) Battery Mowers
Cord free and battery powered
Less cumbersome than corded machines
Recharging can sometimes take up to a full day
The heavy battery can make operating the machine bothersome
Self-Propelled Petrol Lawn Mowers
Doesn’t require you to push or pull the mower
Reduces the amount of work you need to put-in to care for your lawn
Oftentimes they can be loud
Benefits of Regular Lawn Mowing
Mowing your lawn regularly is an important aspect of maintaining a healthy lawn. The benefits are twofold. Firstly, your lawn will look amazing and keep its brilliant green shine. Maintaining a manicured lawn adds a sharp and poignant gleam to the overall look of your home.
Additionally, maintaining a healthy lawn and mowing your grass regularly helps to eliminate oftentimes unseen problems, such as pests that linger in and around your lawn. Mowing your lawn regularly helps to eliminate the possibility of debris buildup, which can lead to unwanted problems in the future, such as fines and notices.
Mowing your lawn regularly ensures that every single blade of grass is properly care for, and is getting all of the required nutrients it needs in order to survive. Because no blade of grass is taller than another, each blade is provided with an equal chance to grow and live. But more importantly, regularly mowing your lawn helps to keep your grass healthy, green and self-fertilized, maintaining an overall beautiful, manicured lawn.
But your lawn isn’t the only one to benefit from regular mowing. Linda Wasmer Andrews in her report published in Psychology Today says, “There's something meditative about pushing a lawnmower back and forth across that patch of green. Plus, it's a practical way to work in a workout while burning some serious calories. So save the money on a lawn-care service, and find another excuse to hire the neighbourhood teen.”
Remember, mowing your lawn is more than just cutting the grass and throwing out the remains. Taking care of your lawn’s individual needs is a required step in maintaining the overall health of your lawn. So the next time you’re about to mow the lawn in your garden, don’t think of it as a chore or a boring job that you’d rather not do. Instead, think of it as an opportunity to further the overall health and beauty of your lawn.