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Man mowing his lawn with a John Deere Z345R.

Know before you mow: a quick guide on mowing best practices

You’re busy, so we’ll hit the high points. You mow your lawn a lot. Here are the best ways to do it for a healthy, professional-looking lawn.

Keep it tall

For most grass types, you can keep your lawn cut around 2.5 to 3 inches during the summer. Taller grass tends to have deeper roots and shades the soil, preventing weed growth and holding in moisture. On the last mowing, drop your cutting height down to around 2 inches to lower the likelihood of snow mold.

Never cut more than 1/3 of the blade

Mowing 1/3 or less of the blade will keep you from having to collect clippings. These clippings are around 75% water and will decompose, providing nitrogen and other nutrients to your lawn. Mulching helps clippings decompose even faster.

Avoid mowing wet grass

Mowing a wet lawn doesn’t harm grass, but it can cause some headache and add extra work. Wet grass will clump together and pile up on your lawn or fill up your mower deck. Clumps left in the yard will kill grass trapped underneath. Your wheels may also leave ruts or tear up your lawn.

Mow when it’s cool out

The best time to mow is whenever you have time to, but it’s more beneficial in the morning or evening. When it’s cool or shady outside, grass will retain moisture. Mowing in the evening also gives the grass a chance to heal overnight.

Keep your blades sharp

Dull mower blades will tear grass instead of cutting it. Torn grass looks white or brown at the top, is more susceptible to disease, and looks uneven. If you need more info about sharpening blades, read our post about buying new blades or sharpening old ones.

Change things up a bit

It’s easier to mow on a schedule, but hot, dry weather can slow the growth of some grass. Sometimes it’s good to wait a few more days. Periodically changing the mowing direction can also be beneficial. Mowing in the same direction isn’t going to hurt much, but mixing it up helps reduce compaction and ruts.

Raise the blades in shady areas

Lawns that grow in shady areas will benefit from a higher mowing height. Taller grass blades have more surface area for conducting photosynthesis.

Remove debris from your lawn before mowing

Unless you’re trying to make spaghetti with your garden hose, always clear off your lawn before you start mowing. It’s a good habit to get into even if you know the lawn is clear. Your mower blades will thank you.

Keep your wheels in the grass

When working around driveways and walkways, keep all wheels on the grass to maintain a level cut.

Mow side to side on slopes

When mowing on a slope, move in a side to side fashion instead of up and down to reduce the risk of slipping. For steeper slopes, consider using a trimmer.

Leave new grass alone

Just finish planting some new grass? Give it some time to settle in before you start mowing. Wait about a month, or until it’s an inch taller than the desired cutting height.

Help, my grass is REALLY tall

If your lawn gets a little out of hand, cut the grass more often until it’s back to normal length. Mow, wait a few days, mow again, rinse and repeat. If you decide to go ahead and cut it like normal, make sure to bag or rake the clippings. Avoid using mulching blades or a mulching kit. Not sure if you’re using mulching blades? Check out our guide on choosing the right mower blades.

Have questions or need help with your mower? Call, visit, or submit an online contact form to your local Hutson store.