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The correct way to mow your lawn

Most people who are fortunate enough to have a lawn are also quite concerned about keeping it looking tidy and attractive.  There are some differences of opinion on the best way to do this, but a few of the many suggestions are pretty much universal, and they don’t involve any drastic measures or intensive upkeep.

The number one tip:  don’t cut your grass too short.  About a third of the existing length is the best guide, even if you’ve let it get way too high.  In that case you’ll have to cut it more often for a while, but after a few weeks it will be back to an ideal height of 3 to 41/2 inches.  This allows the grass to develop deeper roots and retain moisture better, which in turn allows for healthier grass and less watering.

Keep the mower blades sharp.  Dull blades make for sloppier cuts, tearing off chunks rather than snipping cleanly.  Hint:  if you have them cleaned at the end of each season, you’ll avoid the line-up of procrastinators who left it until spring.  Also, do your mowing when the grass is fairly dry; wet grass is harder to cut, and messier.  Don’t go at it during the hottest hours of the day as excessive heat can damage the lawn.

The best time to water is in the morning before it gets hot; it’s better for the grass and you won’t lose so much water to evaporation.  Don’t follow the same pattern every time you mow; alternate north-south and east-west each time so you don’t establish wheel ruts.

A final tip that may be anathema to tidy-freaks, but good for the lawn:  leave the cuttings in place every three or four times you mow.  They provide excellent mulch with vital nutrients that will help your grass to flourish.


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