The Q&A Archives: mowing

Question: How low should I mow my lawn in the hot summer months (80-90 degree days)? Also, my lawm mower is a year old, how do I know if the blades need to be sharpened and how do I sharpen them?

Answer: Specific mowing heights depend somewhat on the type of grass you have in your lawn, but typically the height should be raised to two and a half to three inches for the summer. This helps shade the soil and keep it moister and cooler.

How often to sharpen the mower blade depends on how often you mow and how much area is cut. Some people need to sharpen every month, others every four to six months.

A dull blade will tear rather than cut sharply, so if you look at the grass blades you will see whether your mower blade is dull, or not. A dull blade will shred or tear the tips of the grass blades so they look jagged or raggedy.

To sharpen the blade, follow your mower manufacturer's directions for removing it from the machine. It can be sharpened with a grinding wheel and/or file but take care to maintain the original balance of weight on the blade so it spins evenly.

Rather than sharpen it yourself you might take it to a sharpening service (check with a mower repair shop) or, depending on cost, replace it.

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