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How Mowing Can Keep Your Lawn Healthy and Attractive

Different mowing techniques can make a difference in how healthy your lawn is. Proper mowing can help the lawn be more resistant to drought, may reduce the need for weeding, and can help prevent common diseases. When this occurs there will be less need for expensive and potentially hazardous chemicals, as well as less need for watering.

One of the most common mistakes is mowing the lawn with a dull blade. This makes the grass susceptible to common problems. Not realizing that the blade is the problem, most people begin to treat the lawn with chemicals and increase the amount of watering. Replacing the blade on a regular basis can help prevent problems and the need for extra lawn care.

Dull mower blades do not cut the grass, but instead rip and tear it. This causes a massive amount of stress on the lawn. A simple way to determine if this is happening it to look at several blades of grass after mowing your lawn. If the blades are frayed at the end, the blade is too dull and needs to be either sharpened or replaced.

The thumb test can be used to halt the mowing process in advance of causing damage. The thumb test should only be done while the mower is completely cool and off. With the mower off, reach underneath the deck and apply some pressure with your thumb against the blade on the cutting edge. If the blade is not sharp enough to crease your thumb, replacement is needed. Consider having a backup blade on hand at all times so that dull blades can be replaced as needed.

In addition to using a sharp blade, the following tips will help you keep your lawn healthy and attractive year-round.

* Mow often, cutting to the correct height.

Grass should be mowed often enough that no more than 1" of grass is cut off each time. The longer you wait in-between mowing, the greater the stress that will be put on the lawn when you mow. If the grass gets too high, consider cutting it back in stages to reduce stress.

* Grass should be kept 3" high.

This may sound quite high if you love the look of lower cut grass. However, this height is optimal for the development of a strong root system. Thicker grass has the power to force out weeds, and provides shade for the soil which will allow it to retain more moisture. A different mowing frequency may be needed throughout the year in order to maintain this height.

* Don't bag grass clippings.

When a mulching mower is used the grass clippings may be left on the lawn and will provide benefits. As they break down, the clipping will introduce extra nitrogen into the soil. Allowing grass clippings to break down on the lawn is the same as using fertilizer, but without the added chemicals. Decomposition tends to occur quickly due to the fact that grass clippings are nearly 90% water.

* Only mow the lawn when it is dry.

A clean cut cannot be accomplished when the grass is wet. Additionally, disease can be spread by mowing a wet lawn. Clumping is another problem that occurs when mowing wet grass.

* Perform regular maintenance on your mower.

Regular oil changes and spark plug replacement will help keep your mower running correctly. Most power motors also have an air filter which needs to be changed on a regular basis. Should you not wish to do these tasks yourself, look for a mower service center in your city. Electric mowers have become a viable alternative to gas powered motors. They are efficient and very quiet. You may wish to consider this option when the time comes to replace your current mower.

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