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The 3 Most Common Mowing Mistakes

The 3 Most Common Mowing Mistakes

With it now being the start of April, the days are becoming longer and the snow is slowly starting to disappear. Although it’s hard to know exactly when all of this snow will be gone here in Calgary, we know there will be green grass again. Whether you’re someone who mows their lawns to “escape” the world for half an hour, or someone who despises the chore and hires it out, there are some “must-dos”, and “never dos” for this frequent task. Your home is more than the walls and floors. For most people, the home also includes outdoor areas, which enhances the aesthetic appeal of the property, as well as brings joy to the owners. If you have a yard, then you know how important it is to maintain the area. You also know how difficult it can be.

With seven years of experience in the lawn care industry, I’ve seen many mistakes made by homeowners and even companies. If you make these three common mistakes when mowing, your lawn will look unhealthy, uneven, and scattered with weeds.

Yarddawgs mowing a lawn in Calgary, AB. Learn more about the three common mowing mistakes here.

1. Your frequency is off

We’ve all done it. We’ve all said to ourselves “how long can I space apart the times I mow the lawn?”. We try for two weeks, sometimes three weeks. We’ve had people call and ask if they can get by mowing their lawn once a month!

Don’t be that person. The problem with mowing as infrequently as possible is that our grass goes into major stress. When we cut a lawn from four inches down to one inch, we have removed three-quarters of the blade of grass in a single cut. This puts the grass into a state of shock, a major change has been introduced to this organic entity. You should never be removing more than one-third of the above soil height from the blade of grass. This is why a mowing schedule is so important. The mowing schedule we recommend is:

Mid May - End of July: every 7-10 days.

Early August - Mid October: every 10-14 days.

That’s it, no crazy tricks or shortcuts. Try to mow weekly during the growing spring months and no less than biweekly during the summer months. This will give your grass a chance to adapt to our climate and have a beautiful appearance after each mow, but not look unmanaged by the time you get around for the next cut.

2. Your blades are dull

When was the last time you sharpened your mower blades? Did you know you can sharpen your mower blades? We get it, we live in a world where we want to buy something once and have it run reliably without much ongoing maintenance. The good news is, as a residential homeowner you can get by sharpening it once a year. Twice if you’re a fanatic. If you’re a lawn care company, you should be practicing the habit of sharpening once a week since you mow way more lawns than the typical Jane Doe down the street. So how do we sharpen a mower blade? Thank God for YouTube!

There are several different methods to sharpen the mower blade but the most simple approach is:

  1. Unplug the mower spark plug (safety first)
  2. Tip your mower on its side
  3. Use a socket set to remove the bolt holding the blade to the mower. (hold the blade with one hand, and with the other turn the socket in a counter-clockwise direction)
  4. Use a flexible paint scraper to scrape off old debris and gunk sticking to the blade
  5. Clamp the blade to a metal press, and run a file along the blade at the same angle of the blade edge (don’t forget to do both sides!)
  6. Put the blade back on in the reverse order you took it off with. While looking under your mower, use the same paint scraper to remove any debris that has built up from last season

The classic indicator that your lawn mower’s blade is dull is the white tip found at the top of each blade of grass after you’ve mowed it. Just like hair can have split-ends, your grass will have yellow split ends from being mowed with a dull blade.

3. You're mowing in the same direction every time

After you get out of the shower, it’s common to grab a brush or comb and run it through your hair. We do this in the same direction each time, down, or to one side. We do this because it essentially trains our hair to lean towards one way and be styled in a specific direction. The same is also true for grass. When we always mow it in the same pattern, each blade gets tilted towards one side. While this is hardly noticeable from just a few cuts, after an entire season your lawn looks worn, uneven, and sloppy.

Alternate the direction you mow your lawn in. If today you mow it starting in the corner and going left, 180 turn, right, 180 turn left, etc. Next week change it up by going right, 180 turn, left, 180 turn right, etc.

Mowing Tip: If you mow one or two passes along the perimeter before you start your back and forth mowing march, it makes it easier and more fluent for turning around. This helps the lawn look like it was mowed once and properly rather than in a random sequence.

Mowing your lawn properly is just the start of having a lush weed-free lawn! Stay tuned over the course of this spring and summer. We will be sharing tips on how to keep the weeds away, keep your grass thick, and create the healthy lawn you’ve been dreaming about having for years!

Yard Dawgs is committed to providing high-quality lawn care services in Calgary. Our mission from the start was to ensure that you get premium lawn care services from technicians who care. We have serviced over 1000 homes and commercial properties throughout Calgary, providing a wealth of services, including weed removal, lawn fertilization, power ranking, overseeding and weed control in Calgary. Our experienced team works year-round, ensuring that whenever you need our services, we're ready to help you. Receive your free quote here.