If you are a DIY homeowner, who hasn’t enjoyed how it feels to book someone else to do your lawn care, then the responsibility of mowing and maintaining a healthy lawn is all yours.
To help with this, lawnmower experts John Deere have put together this simple but effective infographic that features 8 tips for a healthy lawn…
In more detail…
1. Pick the right mower for your lawn size
If your yard is small, you may be able to get away with a manual reel mower. These old-style mowers have been updated for the modern era, but just like your great grandfather did, you still need to use your own strength to do all the hard work.
There are however some benefits of a manual reel mower. For example: they’re cheaper; they don’t emit pollution, so they’re cleaner for the air; they’re whisper quiet; they effectively chop the grass like a pair of scissors, so you don’t usually end up tearing the grass blades, which means it can be better for your grass; they’re safer; and they’re great exercise!
Alternatively, you could also try an electric lawn mower or robotic lawn mower. The electric shouldn’t lose power if you’re only mowing a small area, and the robotic lawn mower might be slower but it’d be fun to watch.
For an average sized yard (up to half an acre), most homeowners choose the petrol push mower option. It suits this sized yard, but arguably it might be so popular just because it’s what most people grew up with and feel comfortable purchasing.
If you have a larger yard, a ride on mower might suit your lawn best, but only if you have access for this type of larger machine. (Mower store owners will tell you that as elementary as it sounds, ride-ons have been purchased in excitement at the mower store, only to be brought home to yards that don’t allow them access due to small side gates!)
Within the ride on category, there are two main types of lawn mower: the zero turn mower; and the lawn tractor.
Zero turn mowers are controlled by levers and foot pedals. They have the cutting deck out the front, which gives them increased manoeuvrability because they can turn sharply.
Lawn tractors, on the other hand, are controlled by a steering wheel and pedals. Their engine is mounted on the front and the cutting deck is underneath, which means they do not have a zero turn mower’s impressive manoeuvrability – but if your yard is flat and easy to mow, you might not need pro turning power.
2. Keep your lawn mower maintained
It’s essential to maintain any machine that you depend on. Look after your lawn mower, and it will look after you, right?
Here’s a quick summary of how to maintain your lawn mower:
- Clean away dirt and clippings
- Wash the undercarriage
- Empty the fuel tank
- Add fuel stabiliser to the fuel tank
- Clean and replace the air filter
- Replace the spark plug
Interesting read: 6 Best Ways to Maintain Your Lawn Mower
3. Remember to give your mower a tune up
Ideally, if you’re using your lawn mower a lot, it would be smart to take it to a lawn mower expert like Peter Townsend every now and again, to give it a professional tune up. But if you’re doing it yourself, here are three basic areas to attend to:
- Tighten all the nuts and bolts
- Check belts, filters and guards
- Inspect tyres and spark plugs
4. Check your mower blades are always sharp
Sharp mower blades are one of the secrets of good lawn mowing. You can either get them sharpened at your local mower store, or sharpen the mower blades yourself. Not sure how? Jump over to this: How do I sharpen lawn mower blades?
5. Mow the right way
The lawn mowing rule of thumb is to only ever cut one-third off the grass blade. Cutting off one-third of the blade at a time removes just enough to keep your lawn healthy and not too much to stunt the growth.
If you have let your grass grow too long, experts suggest still only cutting one-third off the grass, but then mowing it again another day (and another day) until it’s back to your desired height.
In reality, if you take over a property that looks like a jungle because it hasn’t been mowed for six months, you’re probably going to want to mow this in one hit and turn a blind eye to the one-third rule – so you can sleep at night without the thought of long grass bothering you.
It’s also suggested that you vary the route that you mow, to prevent turf wear.
Finally, many suggest leaving the clippings on the lawn. Some argue for it, but some argue against it, so the jury is still very much out on that one.
6. Weed and feed
A healthy lawn typically needs weeds removed and fertiliser applied to give it a dose of nutrients to help it to grow.
All lawn fertilisers work differently though and are recommended for different types of lawns. Some fertilisers require heaps of water when applied and give surge growth to your lawn, others are controlled release and require minimal water and work evenly over a longer period.
So, when you are shopping for lawn fertiliser, it’s a good idea to visit your local mower or garden store and talk to the experts before you get started. It may seem inconvenient, but if you risk choosing the wrong fertiliser for your lawn, it could actually save you time and money in the long run.
7. Be water wise
Water is a precious resource, so if you’re maintaining your own lawn, remember these three water wise tips:
- Water at dawn or early in the day before the harsh sun takes away your window of opportunity for your grass to absorb water at its roots.
- Water evenly across your property.
- Water only when needed.
Interesting read: Best Time To Mow The Lawn
8. Test your soil
If you’re finding that your lawn is not growing as well as your neighbour’s, yet you have the same type of grass planted, you might like to talk to your local garden supply store about how you can test your soil’s PH level to see if you need to add lime (for acidic soil) or sulphur (for alkaline soil) – to help you grow a healthy lawn that is the envy (not the pity) of your neighbourhood!
Got any more tips for maintaining a healthy lawn?
Please add them in the comments below.