The Q&A Archives: How to mow and edge my lawn

Question: I have a black and decker electric mower and reasonable sized lawn. I am not happy with the edges of the lawn after I mow. I usually run the mower on the edges bu the edges do not come out neat. Is there any way I can get some neat edges with the mower - they usually turn out bent in one direction rather than cur properly? DO I need to buy a trimmer or is there another way out?

What are the guidelines for mowing the lawn - what direction and pattern should I follow? Should I clean the blades of the mower everytime I use it? If yes, does using water pressure for cleaning the blades a good idea?

Answer: Your lawn should be mowed frequently enough so that no more than 1/3 of the leaf blade length is removed during any one mowing. For example, if Kentucky bluegrass is normally mowed at 2 inches, the height should not be allowed to grow beyond 3 inches before it is mowed back to 2 inches. If 1 inch is mowed, 1/3 of the total blade length is removed and the 1/3 mowing rule has been followed. During periods of active turfgrass growth, many lawns will require mowing at least once a week.

The direction of mowing should be altered every one to two mowings. Mowing at right angles (90 degrees) to the previous direction will help prevent the grass from repeatedly being pushed in one direction and laying over, an important consideration at high mowing heights. Also if scalping areas of the lawn is a problem, the different mowing directions will help minimize continual scalping in any one area.

Edging and trimming are the finishing touches of mowing, kind of like getting a shave after you've had a haircut. Edging and trimming are pretty close to being the same thing. Some tools are called edgers because they're designed to trim the lawn along a hard surface like a driveway or sidewalk. Edgers cut a nice clean edge, but leave some dirt and grass debris that you need to clean up. On the other hand, you can use trimmers anywhere ? along a hard surface, in tight spaces, next to planting beds, and so on. Trimmers also leave some clippings on paths and driveways that you need to sweep up.

As for cleaning the blades of the lawn mower, a quick squirt with the hose should dislodge any grass residue. Be sure to allow the blades to air dry before storing the mower.

Best wishes with your lawn!

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