White Shovel Landscapes

The Ultimate Guide to
Grass Cutting

How Often Should Grass Cutting Be Done?

Let’s face it, some of us would like to know we only had to cut our grass one time a month or year. But for this conversation, we are going to assume you are looking for some real answers to how often you should cut your grass.

Depending on whether you water your grass, or let nature water it for you could play a role in how often you cut. For example, if you water all the time, you may find yourself needing to cut once or even twice a week. On the other hand, if you let nature water it for you, this could lead to an irregular schedule, leaving some weeks with little growth and others with too much.

Rain Detector for Irrigation

To eliminate this, I always recommend having a rain detector on your irrigation system. This can sense if you’ve had rain or not, and keep your soil watered on a regular basis, which can lead to a consistent cutting schedule.

The other thing that can effect your growth rate is how thick you cut your grass. Longer grass tends to grow a little quicker, probably because of its ability to maintain consistent moisture. If you want taller grass you are going to have to cut more often.

Grass Cutting Every Two Weeks on Average

One more thing to mention here is the reason why you don’t want your grass to get too long. To show you this one let’s use an example. We’ve all see the piles of dead grass on the guys lawn down the street after a few weeks of rain. This is the result of grass that got out of hand. Controlling water flow, will control growth which in-turn makes whatever schedule you have created effective.

As far as how often to cut the grass; the best recommendation is every week. Although, if you do not have an irrigation system, most of the time you can cut it every two weeks. The ideal time is every week, with a regular watering schedule, and quarterly fertilizing and weed prevention.

How Short Should Grass Be Cut?

Grass has many personalities, I guess you might even say it has a mind of its own. The thing to keep in mind with all types of plants is that they are living things, so what we do to them can effect them in the future, as well as in the present.

When you’re thinking about what length your grass should be, I want you to consider a few things as well. First of all, I want you to think about how often you want to water. You see, longer grass can help to hold the moisture in the ground, which can lower the number of times you need to water each week.

Grass Cutting Perfection

The second thing to think about is whether you want to perfect your lawn, or just have it look good. You see, if you cut your grass really short, it’s easy to see every dip, or damage to your yard. Sort of like the grass on a golfing green. These greens are kept short and the ground is perfect. These aren’t really great for bare feet either.

Usually, about two inches is considered an executable length for front yards, and for areas where you wish to walk in your bare feet, try three to four inches. Don’t forget you have to mow it, and longer grass is much more difficult to mow with a push mower.

Recommended Tools For Grass Cutting

As we talk about the tools you will need you should be thinking about how big your yard is. Lots of the quality of the following tools will depend largely on the size of your yard, as you will see.

Grass Cutting

Gloves

There are some tough guys and girls out there who think gloves are needed. But, if you work an inside job all the time, and you mow your yard on the weekend, gloves and a hat can go along way to protecting you from a bad next week. Depending on the size of your yard, gloves can prevent blisters from forming, protect you from scratches or poison ivy, and keep dirt from getting under your finger nails.

You can usually grab an inexpensive pair of gloves from any home improvement store and they will last you all season.

Eye Protection

Let’s talk eye protection. Coming from someone with twenty twenty vision, my eyes are very important to me. It’s easy to think you will never have something hit you in the eye when you are mowing your yard, but you should think about eye protection like insurance. You only need it when something goes horribly wrong. It only takes that one time and it’s usually from something totally random, and unexpected. But, if you do want to push the limits of wearing eye protection, I would say if you are riding on a lawn mower, your chances of being hit are pretty small, and you might be OK. But, I always recommend wearing eye protection. It too easy to wear, and all it needs to do is protect you one time to be priceless.

Weed Eaters

These machines are widely known for never starting, primarily
because smaller engines are high performance. Meaning they require a delicate touch, as well as premium gasoline. The electric weed eater market has grown drastically over the past year or so, and now we have the battery operated ones as well. When they first came out they were nothing more than a good idea. Now, with brands like DeWalt entering the picture, you have high quality long lasting batteries, and machines to use. If your yard is an acre or less, I would recommend getting one of these battery powered machines. They also provide several other tools which the same battery can be used.

If on the off chance you do decide on a gas powered weed eater, make sure you use a premium gasoline mixture, and don’t get the cheapest one they have, it’s just a mistake.

If on the off chance you do decide on a gas powered weed eater, make sure you use a premium gasoline mixture, and don’t get the cheapest one they have, it’s just a mistake.

Grass Cutting Weed Eater

Rake

In the lawn mowing arena there is one go-to tool everyone should have; a rake. Leaf rakes and metal rakes are great to have on hand, but a leaf rake can be great for cleaning up extra grass from that one fast growing spot in your yard. It can also quickly clean leaves from flower gardens, as well as assist in picking up clippings from trimming shrubs and trees. You can even use it as a leaf-dustpan, picking up large piles of loose debris.

Usually, most home improvement stores have an off brand leaf rake, which is all you need to accomplish those small yard clean-up projects.

Lawn Mower

Finally, the main tool you need to cut your lawn. All tools need regular maintenance and the lawn mower is no different. It’s good to think about how you will maintain it before purchasing. Questions like: where will you store it, how will you change the oil, clean the air filter, and sharpen the blades all come to mind. Thinking about this will guide you into where you purchase your lawn mower from as well.

For example, buying from a home improvement store might be your go to, but if you’re not handy with a ratchet, you might find yourself throwing a way a good mower because you can’t maintain it. Of course, you could always bring it to your local small engine mechanic, but most of these places prefer to to work on their own stuff. As such, it’s better to go to them in the first place and let them hook you up.

Grass Cutting with Riding Mower vs Push Lawn Mower

Then there is the big question about whether you should use a riding mower versus a push mower. This question, like all the tools before will depend largely on the quantity of grass first. The larger the yard, the bigger the machine, because bigger means faster in the lawn-mowing world. If your primary goal is to get the yard done, then a riding mower is your best bet. However, if you are looking to grow a great front yard, a push mower inflicts less damage to the grass, and as such can provide a more lush yard over all.

What if the Grass is Too High to Cut?

There’s an old saying, “Don’t let your grass get too high to cut.” OK, so maybe that’s not an old saying, but it serves our purpose here for this conversation. It’s always best to keep your grass cutting on a regular schedule. In fact, your shrubs and trees can benefit from a regular schedule as well.

Most grasses like Bermuda, and Zoysia are only green on the top two inches or so of grass. This means when you cut your grass back after it’s long, your yard will look brown and dead. The good news is, your yard usually recovers. The bad news is, cutting that grass is going to be a real chore.

There are a few things to keep in mind when cutting long grass.. The first thing I like to do is settle in for the long-haul. It’s going to take some work, so don’t get in a hurry. The other thing is try not to let your lawn mower bog down too much in the long grass. It’s better to raise your mower to a higher setting and cut everything, and then lower it and cut it again. This will ensure you don’t damage your mower, or your back. All in all, you just got to get your grass back to a
normal height. This is also a great time to have your leaf rake on hand, as cleaning up the dead grass will be needed.

Grass Cutting

Grass Cutting With Brand New Grass or Sod

If you’ve just seeded your yard, please don’t mow it. New grass needs to find root before you stomp all over it. It takes a little time. I usually recommend a month and a half as a go-to time frame. However, it really depends on what type of grass and how often you are watering it, as this can speed up the time.

If you’ve just had sod put down, you can usually start mowing as soon as it needs cutting. I do recommend that you use a push mower on a much higher than normal setting for the first two cuts, maybe three for good measure.

New grass can be an exciting new addition to you yard, and grass the toughest of plants once it’s established, but when it first goes down it’s very delicate. Don’t get in a hurry, and keep the grass damp all the time. New grass roots will dry up and die within a few hours without water.

You should also look for areas where the grass may be struggling, or the seeds have been washed out. If you catch these areas early, you can reseed them to ensure your entire yard comes in full. I usually recommend reseeding your yard anyways after the first three months, this helps to ensure your new grass comes in thick.

Grass Cutting When Your Yard is Wet

If you live in the south, you’ve probably experienced the three to four weeks of rain, where you just can’t catch a break. These situations usually call for drastic action, and you’ve got to cut your grass wet. The real question is; can you do this or not, or what are the repercussions of mowing wet grass. If there are no other options, and you need to cut the grass then here’s what to expect. Remember, only if there are no other options, it’s usually a good practice to only cut when it’s dry.

Keep in mind, you won’t be able to do a perfect job when cutting we grass. The mower can’t cut properly most of the time because the water creates a slick environment, while the cut grass bulks up inside the machine and cakes itself to the inside of your mowing deck, which usually sounds like your mower has a cold. If you have large yard, you will need to stop after a while and scrape the wet grass out from under the mowing deck before continuing. You also will have wet shoes and if your lucky wet socks and feet. You can also count on green tire tracks that seem to never go away across any sidewalks or concrete areas.

If you do mow your grass wet, you need to clean up the cut grass clippings as soon as possible. As this can provide an environment for fungus’s to grow.

Is Cutting Grass In a Pattern Just For Aesthetics

Perhaps you’ve noticed on TV the baseball fields cut in a perfect pattern, and you’ve asked yourself, are they just doing that for aesthetics, or is that really necessary?

Although you can cut your grass in different patterns to create a nice look, actually there is a benefit to cutting in different patterns. The benefit is probably not what you’re thinking though. You might be thinking, maybe they are cutting against the grain or growth pattern, similar to shaving. You’d be partly right, they actually are cutting in both directions, and that’s what gives the dark and light green patterns. You might notice this when you vacuum a rug, as it can do the same thing.

The real benefit you get from this is in allowing the previous spot you mowed to not become compacted or develop ruts from continuously mowing in the same pattern. I usually recommend at least three different ways of cutting your grass. Three different patterns, so your grass has at least three weeks between being cut the same way again. This may not sound like much, and if you’re using a push mower to cut your grass, it’s not as necessary as with a riding mower. But, it’s still necessary, and it can actually be quite fun.

What Should I Do With Grass Clippings and Clumps?

Mowing your yard when it’s too long, or when it’s wet can produce an unsightly selection of grass clumps across your yard. This is also true for just longer areas, or faster growing areas of your yard. Using a bagger, you can catch a lot of this grass, and dispose of it pretty easily. You could also rake it up using a simple leaf rake after your done cutting.

What you don’t want to do is assume the dead grass is good fertilizer for your yard. As this may be true for some amounts of dead grass, you can hardly expect a large clump of grass to break down and become fertilizer before your next cutting. It can keep the sun from getting to that part of the grass, and when you finally get around to picking it up or hit it with the mower, your yard may look like some sort of leopard skin, with dead spots all over it.

Now, you don’t have to go overboard with the cleanup, but it is a good practice to get it off the grass and into some sort of disposal system. At the very least, you can take your lawn mower and go back over the dead clumps to help disperse them a little more. This can keep them from shading the grass.

Grass Cutting

How To Cut The Edges of the Yard

If you have concrete sidewalks, or driveways in your yard, you’re going to want to cut the edges. A lot of times, be forgo this process, and see it as a waste of time, or just something professional companies do. But cutting in your edges is something you need to do to maintain your sidewalks, and driveways. Cutting edges is the way you keep your grass from taking over your concrete.

To do this you can use a gas powered, steel blade edger. This is usually best, and it’s similar to a small lawn mower standing on its side, with the blade exposed on the left side facing the bottom. You use this to cut the dirt and grass along your sidewalk, while cutting a fine trench down the edge of the concrete. When done right, this creates a clean look, and one that would make any professional proud.

They also have a manual edger, that I recommend for small yards. It’s not much more work, and it can save you some money. These bad boys are muscle driven. They look more like a start strapped to the side of two wagon wheels on the end of a shovel handle. All you do is prop them on the concrete and push it back and forth all the way down the edge.

Is it Better to Hire a Professional for Grass Cutting?

There are many good things about hiring a professional that can seem a lot better. But, mowing your grass yourself can have some benefits as well. One of the things I like about hiring a professional, is the schedule. A professional is on a schedule, which can give your yard a consistent look, not to mention it can be cut while you’re out of town. The other great thing about a professional, is their advice. Usually, these guys can help you maintain a great look, and advice you on ways to keep it. Not every person that mows grass is a professional, that’s important to note.

The benefits of doing it yourself are mostly physical. Mowing is a great exercise, and if you work indoors a lot, it can be great to get the fresh air and sun. But, keep in mind, if your yard is two or more acres, mowing the grass can be a very large chore, especially if you intend to cut edges, and weed eat.

If you like to mow your own grass, you might be able to create a pretty good system for proper maintenance, and actually enjoy it. Whatever you choose, it’s best to start with good goals for your overall look and decide from there.

Conclusion

You should feel encouraged. Caring for your grass is one of the great activities of a lot of Americans. Most neighborhoods have all kinds of caretakers, from the guy who seems to never have time, to the person who seems to never go inside. Some people feel their yard is a reflection of their character, and it’s probably true is some cases. Usually, how you treat the things in your care can show your true character.

I believe our yards often falls into the out of sight, out of mind category. This means your off the hook, well almost. You should find a way to bring your lawn maintenance back into the forefront of your mind. Hopefully, this guide has helped with that mission. Sometimes you just need to assign a professional to handle it, so you can focus your attention on things that are more important to you. I guess that’s the way most things in life are.

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