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Professionals' Lawn Mowing Secrets

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist

Your lawn needs regular appointments with a mower, but if you're simply checking off the chore with little attention to detail, you're missing out on a great strategy for strengthening your lawn. Knowing how to mow can give you a thicker, healthier, and more beautiful lawn. Read on for the lawn mowing secrets of the pros.
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Secret #1: Mow High

Different lawn types thrive at different heights. For example, Bermuda looks great around an inch, Kentucky bluegrass does better around two to three inches. Do some research and find out what lawn mowing height range is best for your lawn, then mow at the higher end of the range. Longer grass shades out weeds and gives the lawn more leaf surface to produce food.  Set your mower high, and you and your lawn will be happier.

Secret #2: Sharpen Those Mower Blades

Sharp lawn mower blades mean a cleaner cut, which means a healthier lawn. Dull mower blades can tear grass, resulting in ragged edges that can leave your lawn vulnerable to disease. Take your mower blades to a hardware or garden store for regular sharpening, and keep extra blades on hand.

Secret #3: Follow the 1/3 Rule

If you've let your lawn mowing slide a little--maybe you've been on vacation, maybe you just didn't feel like pushing the mower last week--it can be tempting to lop off all that extra growth and get your lawn right back to the height you prefer. But that's a big mistake. Cut off too much of the leaf blade at once, and your lawn will suffer. The secret all garden pros know--never cut more than one third of the length at a time. It may take a week or two of gradual cutting to get the lawn back where you want it to be, but slow and steady is the way to go. 

About the Author
Dawn West B.A. holds a B.A. in English from Harvard University and teaches writing at Oregon State University.

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