You’ve treated your lawn to ensure it is healthy and watered it to make it green, but it still looks messy, why is that? Even with a green and healthy lawn, the overall look of your yard will come down to the trimming and edging techniques used on your grass. On top of giving your lawn a uniform look, the way you shape your lawn can also help you keep weeds out or invite them in. With these three tricks, you will keep a thick, manicured lawn with zero room for weeds.
Break Out the Ruler
Different species of grass plants prefer to be cut at different lengths. These recommended lengths cause the least amount of stress on the particular type of turf. Knowing your lawns preferences will allow you to set your mower at the correcting mowing height.
- Tall Fescue – 2.5 to 3.5 inches.
- Kentucky Bluegrass – 2 to 3 inches
- Bermuda Grass – 1 to 2 inches
- Zoysiagrass – 1 to 2 inches
- Buffalograss – 2 to 3 inches
Know Your Tools
During any project, it is important to understand the tools you’re working with to protect yourself and the equipment. Each lawn mower and weed whip are different which is why it’s important to check your owner’s manual to learn about your specific model but here are a few standard tips when using any brand.
- Check Your Settings – Some mowers have numbers along their sides by the wheels. These numbers aren’t necessarily inches so it is important to check your manual to understand their exact meanings. This step will help you ensure that you’re mowing at the correct length.
- Spark Plugs Wire – While lawn mowers have safety features to prevent them from starting at unwanted times it is still a good idea to remove the spark plug wire when working on your machine. For example, if you are trying to determine the height of your mowers blade by measuring it on concrete, you will be needing to get under the mower. This is a good time to remove the spark plug wire to prevent accidents.
- Follow the Arrows – Most weed whips have arrows on them showing you the direction in which you will want to use this machine. It is important to follow these arrows to reduce the risk of debris flying back at you.
- Avoid Scalping – Scalping your lawn with a weed whip will promote weed growth which is exactly what we don’t want. To help avoid this hold the string head 2 to three inches above the grass (the same height you will be mowing) and tilt your weed whip to a 30-degree angle. Then work parallel to the grass.
Expert Edging and Trimming Tips
- Trim BEFORE Mowing – the mower will chop up the trimmings and reduce to need for raking or bagging.
- One-Third Rule – never mow more than one-third of grasses blade length. This will cause stress and damage your lawn. This rule also promotes lateral growth which creates a thicker lawn that in turn prevents weeds.
- The Exception – Occasionally, our lawns need to be trimmed more than the one-third rule allows. For example, you go on vacation for two weeks and leave the lawn untouched. Now you have two options. One, mow it down to the recommended height and bag the clippings. Or two, set your mower to its tallest height, mow once, then later in the day mow down to the recommended height.
- Reduce Turf Compaction – Each week mow in a different direction to reduce the chances of creating wheel ruts in the turf.
- Leave Clippings – Homeowners who leave the clipping on their lawn can fertilize less than those who bag them. This must be done correctly! The grass clippings contain nutrients and moisture that can be beneficial to your lawn, but clumps of clippings can cause the growing grass underneath to suffocate, leaving holes in the lawn. If you are following the one-third rule you shouldn’t have a problem leaving your clippings.
Mowing and trimming can be a lot of work, but when done right it’s a beautiful thing. Knowing your lawn and equipment is your best bet to achieving a thick, green, precise lawn.