The best mowing hacks include mastering the basics and getting the best possible mowing equipment before you start. You should also get familiar with your mower and set it to the right height. Finally, avoid mowing wet grass, or you can tear it and spread weeds!
Lawn mowing is a tiresome chore, especially if you are the only one doing it. I speak from experience.
Luckily for you, after years of mowing my lawn, I have a few lawn care hacks that make this job easier, and I’m willing to share them with you!
So, stay tuned to discover how to maintain a gorgeous lawn without unnecessary drudgery!
- 1 The 5 Best Lawn Care Hacks: Mowing
- 2 FAQs
- 3 Before You Go
- 4 About The Authors
The 5 Best Lawn Care Hacks: Mowing
Hack #1 – Master The Basics Of Mowing
As Aristotle famously stated in his Politics, “ Well begun is half done.” Therefore, I advise you to master all the lawn care basics before planting your grass seed. Today, I’ll help you cover some lawn mowing basics I’ve learned thanks to the Royal Horticultural Society.
Here is my take on what you need to know:
- When establishing a new lawn, start mowing when the grass is at least 5 cm (2 inches) high. The mower setting should be the highest possible.
- If you are using a push mower, move only forward.
- It’s best to mow your lawn weekly or fortnightly from early spring to fall (March to October).
- Although there is usually no need to mow during winter, you might have to do it when the weather is mild and the grass is still growing. When that happens to me, I set my mower high and mow only when the ground is not wet, frozen, or covered with snow (we do have snow here in Raleigh, NC.)
Hack #2 – Get Familiar With Your Mower
You can’t mow and keep your lawn healthy and beautiful without a decent mower. I must warn you that even the best and most expensive mowers won’t last long and do the job right if you don’t know how to use and maintain them properly.
The first step is to read the manual. A great article published by the Alabama Cooperative Extension, a website run by Alabama A&M University and Auburn University, offers the following lawn mower maintenance advice:
- Don’t let fuel sit in your lawn mower for too long, or it might clog the carburetor, especially if you don’t use the mower for more than a month.
- Add a fuel stabilizer before you store the mower in the off-season.
- Change the oil in your mower regularly to extend the engine life. Don’t overdo it; too much oil can damage the engine.
- Remove grass clippings beneath the mower blade to prevent rusting. (I use a blower or a bristled scrubber for hard-to-reach areas).
- Replace the spark plug every 100 hours. (I do this once a year).
- Keep the blades sharp and balanced. Dull blades can tear the grass.
- Clean the air filter with water and mild dish soap. Replace it with a new one when it gets worn out.
- Check tire pressure. If it’s low in one or more of your mower’s tires, your grass cannot be cut evenly.
- Check the belts for cracks and worn-out spots. Replace them when needed, or your mower will not have enough power to operate properly.
I would add that you should never run your mower over a garden hose or you’ll have to repair it, as seen in the video below. Don’t ask how I know this!
Hack #3 – Consider Buying A Lawn Sweeper And/Or A Mulch Mower
I advise you to get the best lawn care machines. They speed up your work and make your life easier. A lawn sweeper helps in many ways.
As I read in an article published by a Syracuse news station, lawn sweepers come in a variety of styles but serve the same purpose – to pick up leaves, twigs, old grass, and other debris from your lawn. This means you don’t have to rake – you can achieve the same effect with less time and effort.
Here is when I use my lawn sweeper:
- Before and after mowing
- After a big storm
- After pruning my trees
A mulch mower is another helpful machine in my arsenal. It’s a special type of mower recommended by the Australian city of Townsville’s Lawn Care Guide. It turns grass clippings into mulch and mows, saving time and creating a free natural fertilizer at the soil level that “feeds” your lawn and helps it grow greener and denser.
Hack #4 – Get The Height Right
As I read in A Virginian’s Year-Round Guide to Yard Care, funded by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Program and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, cutting height varies by type of grass.
However, the guide advises to avoid cutting more than one-third of your grass height. If you live in NC like me and you grow cool-season grass as recommended by North Carolina Extension Gardener Handbook, you should leave your grass as tall as possible since that will help reduce heat stress. You can also try fun mowing patterns when the grass is taller!
I’m sorry if you want your lawn to look like a golf course, but the already-mentioned Royal Horticultural Society also agrees you should never remove more than one-third of the grass height. It also advises adjusting the cutting height in accordance with the time of year:
- 13–25mm (½–1in) in summer
- Up to 40mm (1½in) in spring and autumn
Don’t let your grass grow too tall either – there could be dire consequences. Some cities have codes regarding the grass height. For example, property owners from the City of St. Louis Park, Minnesota, must keep their lawn grass under 6 inches tall. If a person fails to comply after a warning, the violation is corrected at the owner’s expense. I believe many cities have similar codes, so check that!
Hack #5 – Avoid Mowing A Wet Lawn
According to an HGTV article I really enjoyed reading, you should avoid cutting wet grass for the following reasons:
- Dr. Joey Williamson, an expert in residential horticulture at Clemson University, warns that cutting wet grass can help transmit diseases around your yard and enhance weed infestation by spreading wet weed seeds.
- Wet grass clippings are likely to clog up your mower.
- Wet grass clumps can smother and kill the grass, leaving behind bare spots.
- You might slip and fall on wet grass.
- If the grass is wet, the soil is probably soft, meaning your mower can leave unsightly wheel ruts.
- Wet, freshly cut lawn grass will likely stain your shoes and clothes.
If you live in a rainy area and you sometimes must mow a wet lawn, I suggest taking Dr. Williamson’s advice I have found very helpful, and setting the mower blades high to reduce the volume of clippings. Kevin Ambrose from the Washington Post suggests you should:
- Use only sharp blades.
- Raise your mower deck to 3.5 inches above the ground.
- Mow your lawn twice to break up the wet clumps.
Check out this great video I found for even more mowing tips and tricks:
How can I make my lawn easier to mow?
You can make your lawn easier to mow by using the best equipment. For example, you can use a lawn sweeper to remove any debris that might get in your way and slow you down while mowing. Also, choose a mower that matches your lawn size and type.
Before You Go
I hope you found a good hack or two in my article that helps you enjoy mowing your lawn a bit more. After all, regular mowing will help you maintain a great-looking, healthy lawn and kill weeds, so try to keep up with the lawn care schedule.
Please share any hacks you might have and help me by sharing this article.