Sharp Blades – The Answer to Correctly Mowing Your Lawn
How to Correctly Mow Your Lawn
The Sharp Way to Cut the Grass
by David Hedges-Gower
At last the sun is beginning to make its presence known and the temperatures are rising… albeit slowly! A great excuse to rush out into the garden. I bet one of the first thing many gardeners will do is to pull out the lawn mower, dust off the cobwebs, check the oil and make sure the cables work.
Next thing they will do? Well, mow of course. All you need is a functioning mower and you’re off, correct? Well, not quite, as I’ll explain.
Even if you follow a good feeding programme and find time for aerating and scarifying, and even if you keep your moss under control, there is one problem many gardeners experience – patches of yellowing grass. It’s the blight of many a garden once the mowing season arrives.
Now, proper lawn care is easy to achieve when you know what you’re doing. And the good news is that this applies as much to mowing as anything else. To help people understand, I often ask them the same question: “Who are the best mowers in the world?” The answer is usually a shrug and “I dunno – Honda? Hayter?”
“No,” I reply; “I mean which people are the best mowers?” This is usually met by a blank stare so I go on to reveal the answer – sports turf professionals. And we see the evidence of this every weekend on the TV in the splendour and stunning presentation of the sports arenas.
“For the best results you should sharpen your blade every two weeks”
But hang on a minute – surely mowing is mowing? Do the professionals have a secret mowing technique? No, its certainly not a secret (just follow the mowing guide in my book and you’ll be using the same principles they use). Do they have superior machinery? No, they often have the same mowers you and I have. Do they work on superior grass? Well, even if they do, that same grass gets far more abuse than the average garden but still looks so much better!
No, the answer is much, much simpler. It’s all to do with the blade. OK, so they may well have fantastic machines, but it is the blade that cuts, not the surrounding bits and bobs. And turf professionals keep their blades as sharp as possible – at all times. This is the one single biggest difference between professional mowing and everyday mowing.
So, you too can achieve the same results if you do something about your blade. Most people today use rotary mowers, and to get the best results from these you should sharpen your blade every two weeks (or even weekly mid-season).
“What? How can I possibly find time for that?” Don’t panic! It’s not time-consuming, and when you understand the benefits, you’ll be much more motivated.
“With the right tool, it only takes a few minutes to sharpen a blade”
A blunt blade rips and tears the grass. This stresses the plant and makes it difficult to absorb and use food and water. This leads to the yellowing lawns. However, use a sharp blade that makes a good, clean cut, and the grass recovers much more quickly and retains its lush green appearance. So, there’s your motivation covered.
As far as time goes, it takes only a few moments to upturn your mower and remove the blade. If you keep a spare you can simply slip that on and get mowing, and find time during the week to sharpen the other blade. With the right tool, it only takes a few minutes to sharpen a blade. And if your original instructions that came with your mower suggest an annual sharpen, ignore them!
What’s that? You want the stripes as well? Ah, that’s a different story altogether. Why not start by getting into a good blade-sharpening routine. Ten minutes a couple of times a month will give you much healthier and greener grass. Then you can read up on how to create a striped effect!
For more information on how to look after your lawn in the modern way throughout the year why not read my ‘Modern Lawn Care’ book?
To order your ‘Modern Lawn Care’ book go to davidhedges-gower.com