Lawn Mowing Tips for Virginia Beach, Virginia Homeowners
Virginia Beach is a great place to live, but it’s a super-great place in the summer. There’s the beach and the ocean and that refreshing salt air. There’s a bunch of things you can do at no cost: a free circus at 17th Street, a free movie on the beach at 26th Street, free country music concerts at Hardee’s, free fitness classes at Mount Trashmore, and in mid-July, a free festival for the kids at Landstown Commons. It’s all good, right? Well, I have some bad news.
You have to mow your lawn even with all those cool things to do. And one more piece of bad news: Mowing your lawn can damage it. There you are, being the good guy or gal, taking care of your lawn before going out to play, and here I am, telling you that maybe you’re the bad gal or guy who’s setting your lawn up for failure. No worries—I’ve got good news! I’m going to tell you how to mow your lawn so that it’s healthier, more drought-tolerant, and denser, while you may also save time, effort, and money.
1. Keep the mower blade sharp
A sharp mower blade cuts the grass cleanly, saves gas, and extends the life of the engine because it doesn’t have to work as hard. A dull blade rips the grass and leaves openings that allow those pests and diseases to sneak in and wreak havoc.
If your grass is starting to show whitish tips, it’s a cry for help—sharpen your mower blade.
Remove no more than one-third of the grass blades each time you mow.
2. Mow at the proper height
Photo: Flickr / Donny Warbritton
A buzz cut is downright abuse! It’s an open invitation to weeds and diseases. Scalped grass is weak and sparse. The soil is exposed, and those devilish weeds are able to dig right in.
Since the surface of the blades is smaller, photosynthesis is thrown off. The food resources are concentrated on the stumpy blades and neglect the roots and stems. Undernourished roots and stems result in a lawn that’s susceptible to drought or high temperatures.
3. Mow when the grass is dry
When the grass is dry, the blades get a nice, clean cut. Wet blades fall over, clump together, and get an unattractive raggedy cut. The clumps clog the mower deck and drop onto your lawn. Then you have to pick them up, or they’ll kill the grass.
If you absolutely must cut damp grass, coat the underside of your mower with oil or silicone spray. Also be sure your mower blade is sharp, or you’ll rip that damp grass right out of the soil.
Mow in the shade.
Mowing is stressful for your grass under the best conditions. If you mow it in the hot sun, it gets even more stressed—as you probably do mowing in the Virginia Beach humidity. If you wait until your lawn is shaded or mow it at a cooler part of the day, your grass loses less water and recovers more quickly. It’s good to have anxiety-free grass.
4. Vary your pattern of mowing
Photo: Flickr / Denise Krebs
We’re creatures of habit. We find a way to mow our lawns that seems to makes sense and is the most convenient. And we keep walking that same route. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Wrong. By following that same pattern every time, you’re creating ruts in the soil and compacting it. Weeds love compacted soil.
While you’re walking around behind your mower, regardless of what pattern, remember to take your time. Rushing causes unevenly sheared grass and clumps of poorly mulched clippings.
5. Recycle the grass clippings
Let the grass clippings stay on the lawn—unless they form clumps or rows. That’s a relief, isn’t it? Saves you time and what may be back-breaking effort. You save the money that you spend on yard-debris bags, and the clippings return nutrients and nitrogen to the lawn and that cuts down on your fertilizer bill.
You’re also helping to save the planet. Really. There’s the unnecessary fuel used in making the bags and transporting heavy loads of bagged debris to the dump. At the landfill, all the nutrients in those clippings are going to waste, and the pesticides used to treat your grass will eventually seep into the groundwater.
That might sound like a lot, but it’s not—not when you think about it. The number one thing you do to maintain your lawn is mow it. And mowing is the number one thing that can help or harm your lawn. You want to be the good guy or gal and be in the help column.
Have more questions about lawn care? Visit our Virginia Beach lawn care page or share your thoughts in the comments section below.