Even though winter sometimes seems to last forever and we can’t expect a little green again, there is something good coming from it – a respite from mowing the lawn. To keep your lawn mower ready for service, there are a few things you can do to control your audience smoothly, even after a long spring thaw. We’ve included tips for this below, as well as other little tricks you can apply while you’re in the middle of the mowing season that can help keep your lawn mowing task as smooth as possible.
What to know before cutting
In addition to maintenance, which we’ll go over next, there are a few things you can do before mowing that helps keep your mower running more than just a few recorders around the yard, and keep your yard in its healthiest state.
This is something you can do yourself in just a few minutes before cutting, or if you have kids you can make it fun by turning into a scavenger hunt. Have them take a tour before mowing, looking for anything your mower might have trouble chewing on. Collect rocks, large sticks, and debris that may have floated in your yard. Also, look for tree roots that may now be hidden well under grass; hitting one of them often means a new mower blade will be needed.
Every time you mow, run a quick check on your mower. Make sure you have gas, check the oil, and make sure the undercarriage is not clogged. You can simply take a broom or stick to remove the grass and dirt under it. No need to clean it before or after mowing every time; just remove the debris every time. Before storing it every year, you can do a more thorough cleaning.
If it looks like it’s going to rain, or if it’s expected to click while you’re mowing, save the task for another day. Mowing your lawn while it’s wet isn’t bad for your lawn, but it’s not great for your mower. For extremely hot conditions, mowing is not ideal either, but more for your lawn than it is for the mower. Mowing your lawn during the hottest part of the day causes heat stress on your lawn, and possibly you too, so try to mow it when it’s cooler in the morning or afternoon hours.
Grass Cutting Tips to Keep It Healthy and Looking Great
- Every time you mow the lawn, change the direction. The grass will start to lean towards the direction you mow if you continue to use the same pattern all the time, so by changing it, it allows for more vertical growth and keeps the grass looking nicer.
- Although it is not pretty, you should leave the clippings on the lawn. This returns nutrients and nitrogen to the soil and helps your weed stay healthy.
- In hot weather, you need to cut less and place your blade higher. Grass grows slower in hot, dry climates.
- Mow when dry to prevent blades from building up.
- Dull blades create uneven cuts that damage grass and make it unhealthy. Unhealthy grass means you are more prone to disease and pests, so keep your blades sharp.
- Under trees and in other shady areas, cut the tallest grass. The grass in these areas is prone to thinning as it competes with roots and other plants for water and other nutrients.
- The length of the lawn should never be shortened more than 1/3 of its height at a time. It is okay to do this occasionally if the grass is healthy, but repeatedly cutting the grass too short will result in a brown grass. It also allows more weed seeds to germinate and soon your green lawn will be overrun with a lot of not-so-pretty weeds.
- Keep the grass at the recommended height for your type of lawn. If freshly planted, let it grow for 3-4 weeks (or when it is about an inch taller than its recommended growing height) before you cut it the first time because foot traffic and mower could affect the layers of new grass blades. . * See recommended heights for mowing at the end of the article.
Lawn Mower Maintenance 101
If your mower has been sitting for a few weeks, it is best to start on fresh gas. Preferably, before you put it to sleep each fall, you should drain or remove all the remaining gas, but if you forgot, go ahead and take it out now so you can start on clean fuel.
Tip: If you can’t get all the gasoline out, you can use a water remover additive that is in line with cars in the winter to prevent the fuel lines from freezing or rusting.
Check your oil and add more if necessary. If there is any residue or it is dark black in color, we must drain it and replace it. To do this, remove the drain plug under the mower and allow it to drain completely. Check your owner’s manual for more tips, as well as what type of oil to replace it with.
Check your air filter for signs of clogging or dirt. Most lawn mowers have easily accessible air filters, making it fairly easy to change. A clean filter works with the mower running better and burns gas more efficiently.
The spark plug is one of the most important parts in ensuring you have a working lawn mower. They are inexpensive and easy to replace. Replacement should be done every year before starting to mow again. If you forget or don’t replace it because it’s still working fine and doesn’t necessarily need to be replaced, you should at least have one on hand because it’s definitely one of the most common problems when a lawn mower won’t start.
This is the time when you want to drag the hose and clean the undercarriage well. Before doing so, disconnect the spark plug. You can use a wire brush or stick to scrape off any debris that has caked on it. Make sure to clean the discharge chute as well.
Being careful not to run over large objects will help your blade last longer, but it is still recommended to sharpen it every season to keep it cut as it should. Sharpening it yourself isn’t that easy, so it’s best to take it for a small fee to a local lawn mower repair shop and get it done. Keep the sheet number (model, etc.) written somewhere in case you need to replace it. This way, you can easily order it from the manufacturer if necessary.
You can do all of this yourself, or you can take it early in the cutting season and have it done by a professional. They usually do all of the above when they tune up their lawn mower. Tunings generally cost less than a hundred dollars and should be done before you’re too busy if you want to keep your cost low. Keeping a spare blade is also helpful if you have rougher ground or lots of roots in your garden.
- Never add fuel to a hot lawn mower
- Wear clothing that protects your legs and body from projectiles coming out of the mower.
- Wear goggles as safety glasses if there is a lot of debris the mower will go through
- Keep children and pets away while mowing the lawn
- If your mower has a key, never leave it in the mower when not in use
Following these tips to keep your mower in good shape, as well as taking preventative measures before mowing, will make the task of mowing a little less daunting and perhaps even a little more enjoyable.