Mowing is a necessary part of lawn maintenance, but here are some necessary tips that you can use to reduce the stressfulness of lawn mowing. The first tip is to mow at the right height. Every grass has a recommended height. Tall fescue likes to be mowed between 2 inches to 3 ½ inches. Kentucky bluegrass likes to be mowed between 2 and 3 inches, Bermuda grass between 1 and 2 inches, Zoysiagrass between 1 and 2 inches, and Buffalograss between 2 – 3 inches.
Some lawnmowers will have settings with letters or numbers on the wheels. It might say “1 2, 3, 4” or “a, b and c”. Those numbers don’t necessarily correspond to 1 inch, 2 inch, or 3 inches. You need to refer to your owner’s manual to find out what those numbers mean. Or, we can just measure the height of the lawnmower on a hard surface, such as concrete sidewalk or driveway.
Before you measure the height of the blade, remember – safety first. Most lawn mowers today have safety features to prevent them from starting without you holding onto the handle. But, it’s still a good idea to remove the spark plug wire before you stick your hand under the lawnmower deck.
So, to measure the height of the cut, you can’t simply measure the distance from the lawnmower deck to the ground. You need to get inside, and measure where the blade is. The blade is up inside the lawnmower deck. Open up the door and stick the ruler inside to measure from the ground to the edge of the cutting blade. You can see that it’s about 2 inches off the ground. After you measure the height, you can make an adjustment to raise or lower the deck according to the type of grass in your yard.
Mowing can be a stressful event, both in the cutting of the grass, and the compaction of the lawn mower wheels on the ground. One thing that you can do to reduce the amount of compaction on the ground is to change your mowing patterns. For example, you can mow the lawn in an east – west direction this week, a north-south direction next week, and then mow on a diagonal a week later.
If you follow these lawnmowing tips, you’ll have a green, healthy yard.
This feature story prepared with Rodney St.John, Kansas State University Research and Extension, Turfgrass. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at KansasGreenYards.org.