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Keeping Track of Hours Mowed

August 25th, 2016

A lot of lawn maintenance companies start out as just one or two guys with a lawn mower and a desire to set their own hours. Although you can begin a landscaping company with a more concrete business plan (and many people do), it’s not uncommon for businesses to start out small and grow much larger as demand increases.

This kind of growth is exciting, but it also means you’ll have a lot more paperwork and maintenance to do. That’s why we suggest tracking hours mowed from the very start. It doesn’t matter whether you have two clients or two hundred—this kind of smart record-keeping will help you with billing, lawn mower maintenance, legal settlements, and more.

Hours and Billing

The reason most landscape companies keep track of hours is for billing and invoice purposes. Some companies charge their clients by the hour, which means you need to know exactly how long your team spent at the work site. Other companies bill at a flat rate, but only know what to pay their own employees based on the hours they put in.

By keeping careful logs that include time spent on maintenance, loading and unloading equipment, drive times, lawn care, and regular breaks, your whole company can run on a tighter schedule. You’ll make better business decisions when you have data to base them on. Additionally, a log of times and places worked will be helpful in case of disputed payroll or complaints about work.

Methods for keeping these kinds of records depend on your business style. While you can opt for keeping paper logs or designing your own spreadsheet, more and more companies are choosing automated GPS systems and apps that allow remote employees to log their activities from their smartphones.

Preventative Mower Maintenance

We all know that mowers need regular maintenance and tune-ups the same way a car does, but not everyone remembers that total hours of run time and heavy usage impacts longevity of your equipment. Unless you keep exact records of when, where, and how long each mower was used, chances are you’re greatly underestimating the usage it undergoes.

Although these estimates vary depending on the make and model of the mowers you use, most maintenance schedules follow these general guidelines.

Oil and Oil Filters: Most mowers need an oil change every 50 to 100 hours. Filter replacement can be done less frequently, at about every 100-150 hours.

Air Filters: Because large amounts of dust, dirt, grass, and other debris are kicked up when a mower is in use, air filters need to be replaced fairly often. Depending on the type of air filter, this may need to be done as often as every 25 hours, or as infrequently as every 100 hours.

Spark Plugs: Most mower manufacturers recommend new spark plugs every 100 hours of use.

Blade Sharpening/Replacement: Mower blades take some of the biggest hits when it comes to commercial lawn care, with sharpening and/or replacements required every 8 to 20 hours. For those who perform lawn care full time, this may mean daily maintenance.

With all of these varying maintenance schedules, tracking hours mowed will help you keep on top of whether your machines need just an oil change, or a couple of different types of maintenance. Since proper maintenance is key to keeping mowers running, the benefits to your business will outweigh any hassles.

These logs also let you know when your mower might be approaching the end of its warranty or when it’s time to purchase new equipment. This can be a great help as you budget for the new equipment, since you’ll have a firm idea of what your average cost per hour is—and what you can spend to improve that outcome even more.

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August

2016

August 25, 2016

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Get a Distinctive Cut with Striping Kits

August 23rd, 2016

A lawn that has been perfectly striped is one of the most serene sights in the world. There’s something about the neat lines and trim edges that makes baseball fields to private lawns look incredible. If you want to create a highly professional finish in your lawn care, striping the grass is the best way to do it.

The look of striping is caused by bending the grass at opposite angles. While this can be accomplished simply by mowing in a careful pattern (as the act of mowing naturally causes the blades of grass to bend), the long-lasting, deep colors of professional striping can only be accomplished with the right tools.

You don’t need a brand new mower in order to achieve these results. With an Exmark striping kit or lawn striper attachment that mounts onto your mower deck, you can achieve stripe perfection while going about your regular mowing routine.

Lawn Striping

Striping the grass is the best way to create a highly professional finish to your lawn.

How Our Stripers Work

Most lawn stripers and rollers, including those offered for your Exmark mower, are designed to be attached or removed, depending on the job you’re preparing to tackle. They’re constructed of the same steel-welded parts and high-grade bolts as the rest of your equipment, which means you get a professional fit and finish. They’re offered in a versatile range of sizes so you can attach your striping kit to everything from a push mower to our top-of-the-line Lazer series.

Once the roller is attached, it automatically presses the grass further and deeper in the direction you’re moving, which means you get more visible results as you mow. You don’t have to adjust the length of the cut—just your movement pattern, as you’ll want to keep your lines straight and your turns tight.

Considerations When Striping a Lawn

While the right equipment will go a long way in helping you achieve the results you want, it’s also important to prep the area accordingly. Grass that is too short won’t bend as well, and your stripes will be difficult to see. Your look will also depend on the type of grass. For example, warm-season grasses, like those you often find in warmer, wetter areas of the South, tend to be more rigid and stripe better.

It might also take some practice before you’re able to get the results you want. Basic stripes are the easiest finish to accomplish, though you may encounter obstacles like trees and shrubs that you have to work around. Over time, you can work up to diagonal lines, criss-cross patterns, or even a checkerboard.

It’s also a good idea to remember that lawn striping is about more than just making things look good—it can also be an invaluable tool as you prepare to continue your lawn maintenance. The straight lines can help guide you as you fertilize and seed. The stripes can also be used to cover bare patches or imperfections in a lawn. You can also step your landscaping up to the next level by using the lines to accentuate a focal piece such as a fountain, outdoor structure, or other lawn showpiece.

Find the striping kit or striper for your Exmark mower

23

August

2016

August 23, 2016

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Lean-to-Steer Lawn Care Equipment

August 11th, 2016

When it comes to stand-on lawn care equipment, one of the top concerns for most professionals is the ability to control the machine easily and efficiently. Lawn care would be great if every landscaping job was done on a perfectly cultivated rectangle. Unfortunately, no two grounds are created equally. From various slopes and curved angles to hard-to-reach spots you have to access on foot, every piece of terrain has something different to offer.

Stand-on lean-to-steer equipment gives you and your lawn care team more maneuverability out there—a must-have for stand-on equipment when you want to get the job done well and you want to get it done quickly. Here’s how.

One-Hand Operations: Thanks to the lean-to-steer technology, most movement operations (forward/reverse and left/right steering) can be done with one hand, which leaves your other hand free to operate the controls with ease.

Exmark commercial-grade lawn sprayer

This versatile, easy-to-operate, easy-to-maneuver machine offers our most advanced lean-to-steer technology and outstanding stability.

Intuitive Controls: It might sound tricky to be performing two separate functions with two separate hands, but most lean-to-steer controls are very intuitive. Operators are able to use the equipment in a way that feels natural, making the learning curve very quick and easy.

Greater Precision: Most lean-to-steer lawn equipment provides greater precision while you’re working. Because you can rely on a combination of traditional steering and your own body’s movements, you have more flexibility to get in tight spaces and follow curves.

Better Productivity: Productivity: Because they allow precision, most lean-to-steer machines provide great productivity. You’ll experience less switching to smaller machines for finishing or to fit in tight spots, and precise turns can eliminate covering the same space twice.

Compact Size: The compact design of lean-to-steer machines makes it easier to squeeze into tight spaces, and there are also loading/transport benefits: The small footprint means you’ll have more room on your truck overall.

Although lean-to-steer equipment isn’t right for every lawn or type of terrain, it works great in medium-range commercial and residential settings. You’ll get more versatility than you’d find with a traditional stand-on machine.

Exmark’s Stand-On Spreader Sprayer is one of the best and most up-to-date examples of lean-to-steer technology. For functionality, ease of use, and uniform results, you can’t do better than this!

11

August

2016

August 11, 2016

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Hot Weather Lawn and Grass Care

July 26th, 2016

EX16_Pioneer_S-Series_InUse_6_web72With temperatures soaring well above 100 degrees and drought advisories in effect across the country, summertime lawn care can be a challenging task. However, maintaining a healthy lawn is not impossible—especially if you have the right tools for the job and know how to manage turf in the heat of summer.

From changing your mowing times to adjusting your mower to meet your lawn’s demands, here are a few tips for taking care of cool-weather grasses in seasonally high temperatures.

Set Your Mower Blades Higher: Longer grass tends to hold moisture better than short grass, especially in areas of high sun exposure. Instead of setting your lawn mower blades to remove the top 1/3 of the blade, raise it even higher. Although you’ll have to mow more often to keep your yard looking neat and trim, the higher cut will help the grass be less susceptible to stress.

Change Your Mowing Time: In order to minimize the stress on your lawn, plan to mow either early in the morning or late in the evening (provided your neighbors won’t mind). You might also want to mow after a rainfall or good day of watering. This way, you can avoid inadvertently causing stress to the grass from the combination of shorter grass and midday heat. You should also make sure your blades are sharp and working well. Dull mower blades can add an unnecessary strain on the grass, as they can cause tearing.

Mulch Grass Clippings: Instead of bagging or blowing the grass after you mow, mulch the clippings back into the lawn to become part of the life cycle. These nutrient-rich clippings provide moisture and other necessary nutrients to help keep your lawn healthy.

Avoid Foot Traffic: Keep your kids and pets off of any grass that’s struggling under stress. The less traffic you allow on your lawn, the better it will look overall.

Research Grass Varieties: Cool-season grasses include varieties like fescue, bluegrass, and rye. Warm-season grasses include zoysia, St. Augustine, centipede, and Bermuda. Cool-season grasses tend to fade a lot faster once temperatures move up over 60 degrees, and are much more likely to fall into a dormant phase. Know what’s in your yard and tailor a care plan accordingly.

Let the Grass Go Dormant: A dry, brown, and dusty yard isn’t necessarily dead. Many varieties of grass are designed to “go to sleep” when weather conditions are especially hot or dry. This state of dormancy allows the grass to go up to two months without water. Yes, it won’t look nice, but you don’t need to tear up the lawn and start all over next year. As soon as temperatures drop and rainfall picks back up, your lawn will start return to its former glory.

Avoid fertilizing during the dormancy stage and high heat. Because your grass is taking a break until cooler temperatures prevail, it’s not likely to soak in the nutrients in the right proportions. And don’t aerate during long hot, dry spells, as this can create additional stress to the turf.

Once temperatures cool off, water your lawn deeply and infrequently to rehydrate the turf. Proper soil moisture will also promote healthy root growth. Proper rehydration will help bring your lawn back lush and green through the fall

26

July

2016

July 26, 2016

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The Advantages of Stand-on Mowers for Lawn Care Businesses

July 19th, 2016

All the landscape training and experience in the world won’t matter if you don’t equip your team with the right tools for the job. Lawn grades, landscaping, and other factors you can’t control will always have an impact on your job, which is why you need the equipment necessary to handle each challenge that comes your way. Not only is it safer to match the right mower to the project, but choosing the best equipment can also be more cost-effective overall.Vantage X-Series stand-on mower

Depending on the type of business you run and the volume of clients you serve, a stand-on mower could be the best investment in your future. Here are the main considerations:

Property Size: The number one factor in determining which type of lawn mower to invest in is the size of the property (or properties) you tend. If you serve lots that are more than an acre in size, a push mower will take hours to get the job done. For lots that are half an acre or smaller, a riding mower will lose its precision. That’s why people who tend variable-sized lots often go for stand-on mowers. They get the job done faster than push mowers but also allow for precision in those hard-to-reach areas.

Property Type: Wide, open spaces are often best served by a riding mower, but when you’re working with tight spaces, small lawns, a lot of landscaping features, like shrubs and irregular plantings, a stand-on mower provides better maneuverability.

Transportation Needs: Traveling with one (or more) riding mowers can be a logistical nightmare, especially if space on your trailer is limited. Stand-on mowers are smaller and easier to transport, making them ideal when you don’t want to spend too much time figuring out how to get from one client’s property to another’s.

Less Turf Damage: Although zero-turn mowers have come a long way in detailed turf care, many pros prefer stand-on mowers for their precision. When a picture perfect finish is your goal, you may want to downgrade the technology for more user control.

Visibility and User Control: If you ask your team, you might find that they have a preference for stand-on mowers because it gives them more control over their work. Not only does a standing position offer better visibility, but the ability to quickly hop on and off can be instrumental when working around a large number of obstructions.

Safety: Although there is always a possibility of falling off of a stand-on mower, many businesses prefer them over riding mowers for safety reasons. This is especially true if you’ll be working with steep or slippery grades that aren’t ideal for riding mowers.

Steep Lawn Grades: Most stand-on mowers have greater hillside stability than their riding mower counterparts. Not only do stand-on mowers have a lower center of gravity, but users can shift their weight in order to counteract a slope’s incline.

Price: Money is a consideration for any lawn care business that wants to stay in the green. Stand-on mowers tend to be 10 to 20 percent less expensive than riding mowers, which can make a big difference to your bottom line—especially if you run a fleet of lawn care specialists.

While stand-on mowers can provide greater flexibility, you should remember that they typically require greater strength in the legs and back, and they tend to be slower than riding mowers. If stand-on mowers fit your business model – mainly small to mid-sized properties, hills, or yards with a lot of features — an Exmark Vantage stand-on mower offers industry-leading options in a variety of deck-sizes.

Lawn Mower Mistakes to Avoid

July 13th, 2016

Exmark lawn care

When you make the investment in a quality mower, regular maintenance and upkeep is a must. Therefore, it is important to avoid situations that can damage your equipment, cause wear and tear, or even increase your chances of an injury. Take better care of your lawn—and your equipment—by staying away from these common lawn mower mistakes.

 

Buying More/Less Mower Than You Need: If your yard is smaller in size or covered with many things to mow around, chances are a larger zero-turn mower might not be the right machine for the job. At the same time, a yard that’s half an acre or more could take you hours to trim with a push mower. Always match the lawn mower you use to your specific needs. Considerations like the size of your lawn, the grade of any slopes, the type of terrain and obstacles, like trees, will all play a role.

Low Oil Levels: Just like a car, low oil levels can damage your lawn mower’s engine. To avoid overheating and keep everything lubricated properly, check your mower’s oil level each time you go out.

Low Tire Pressure: If you’re noticing an uneven deck, your problem might be as simple as low tire pressure on one or all of your tires. Low pressure can cause an uneven cut and affect your ability to steer or have proper traction, so always make sure the pressure matches mower guidelines before heading out.

Clogged Decks: The common mower advice to clean out your equipment after every use exists for a reason. Mowers work best and are safest when their blades and undercarriage are clean. After you mow, and once the mower is turned off, remove any dirt, grass, weeds, or other debris, and be sure to give the equipment plenty of time to dry before you put it away.

Dull Blades: Lawn mower blades aren’t meant to last forever. Over time and with excessive use, they will grow dull and less effective overall, which can cause tearing of the grass and make the turf more susceptible to disease. If you aren’t equipped to sharpen mower blades yourself, take them to your authorized dealer for sharpening or replacement.

Not Checking for Rocks and Other Debris: Even fairly small rocks and other debris in the yard can bend or chip your mower blades, leading to dull blades and uneven cutting. More importantly, not removing these items from the lawn before mowing can cause serious injury to others or property damage. Be careful with known rocky areas in your lawn, and trim around rocks that are too big to move before mowing.

Ignoring the Air Filter: When you’re performing regular lawn mower maintenance, make sure you check the air filter. To avoid clogs, wash the filter after each use and replace it once or twice a year.

Cutting a Wet Lawn: Clumps caused by wet clippings can clog the machine, and the water-soaked grass might be more slippery than you think. Even if you’re on a tight mowing schedule, it’s safer to wait until conditions improve.

Bad Storage: A lawn mower isn’t like a car, in that it’s not ideal to leave it parked outside and exposed to the elements. Covered storage is a must when the mower isn’t in use, even if it’s just for a few days at a time; however, you will want to make sure the mower is cooled down before putting it away. You should also consider storage where rodents and other pests can get in.

You should also keep up with mower maintenance schedules and follow the safety instructions for your mower. Most accidents occur because of shortcuts or a failure to properly secure the equipment before you use it. It might take a few extra minutes to get everything running in tip-top shape, but the quality of your lawn and your safety will be well worth it.

Mulch, Bag or Blow… Which is Right for You?

June 19th, 2016

Deciding on the perfect lawn mower is only the first step in taking control of your lawn. Although a high-end mower will go a long way in making sure your landscaping efforts are the envy of the neighborhood, regularly cutting the grass is only a small part of lawn maintenance.

If you’re not sure whether you’d like to mulch your grass clippings, bag them and toss them out, or blow any excess yard debris out of the way, here is an overview of each option.

EX16_Pioneer_S-Series_InUse_6_web72

Mulching Grass Clippings

In today’s age of eco-friendly initiatives and greener lifestyles, mulching (or “grasscycling”) is becoming an increasingly popular choice for both homeowners and commercial landscapers. Although large and unwieldly clumps of grass are both unsightly and damaging, mulched grass provides a natural and low-cost fertilizer to help keep your lawn looking greener for longer.

Grass clippings are almost entirely composed of water, which makes them a natural and easy source of hydration for your lawn. They also put up to 25 percent of the lawn’s nutrients and nitrogen back into the soil—thereby reducing your need to fertilize or add growth stimulants to your lawn. And as long as they’re less than one inch in size (which should be the case if you mow on a regular schedule), they’ll fall naturally down to the root zone of the grass and break down, which means you don’t have to do anything but let the grass clippings fall where they may.

If it’s been awhile since you last mowed, if you mow damp grass, or if your mower blades are becoming dull, you may need to do a little extra work since the mulch could clump. Most of the time, spreading the grass clippings out with a rake will do the trick. The other option is to bag portions of the mulch to be distributed at a later date (or to put somewhere like a garden or even compost heap).

 

Bagging Grass Clippings

Cleaning up grass clippings from the lawn and putting them into bags to be disposed of became popular in the 1950s, but the practice has fallen out of favor for some. In large part because it creates more work, requiring you to either rake the clippings from the yard or frequently stop to empty the bagged clippings. Either way, there’s an additional step required.

Because grass clippings are such a healthy part of lawn maintenance, and they could be put to better use in the garden, bagging them with the intent to throw them away tends to be viewed as wasteful. However, there are incidences when bagging needs to be done. When you’re mowing a very long yard, for example (with grass blades that are several inches tall), the clippings will be too big to be used as fertilizer. In this case, you’ll most likely need to bag the clippings and dispose of them. This can be done by throwing them out or by turning them into compost, as they are still very nitrogen- and nutrient-rich.

 

Blowing Grass Clippings

A third—and not very common—option is to blow the grass clippings out of the way so they don’t prove unsightly in a freshly mowed yard. This can be great if you plan to do your own edging and sidewalk cleanup afterward, but can also be an annoyance if you blow the clippings into communal neighborhood areas like the street.

Most of the time, people choose to blow because there is more than just grass mulch in the yard. Leaves, weeds, small twigs, and other debris that collect over time aren’t as nutrient rich as the grass clippings, and leaving them sitting can be damaging to your lawn over the long-term.

Here’s a better strategy: Instead of blowing the grass after you mow the lawn, we suggest you do the blowing first. That way, you remove the harmful yard debris and can bag it up separately. Then, after you mow, the only mulch is made of grass clippings, which can be left in place to provide nutrients and keep your lawn looking great.

 

19

June

2016

June 19, 2016

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Why Switching to Propane Mowers with EFI Could Boost Your Bottom Line

June 8th, 2016
Exmark Lazer Z S-Series Propane

State-of-the-art Exmark EFI-propane mowers offer increased fuel economy and performance, with reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

If you’re looking for ways to increase profit margins for your lawn care business, one option might be to consider switching to propane mowers. On average, it is said that about 9% of production costs for landscape professionals goes toward fuel. Therefore, a move to propane mowers regulated with Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI), could help cut your fuel costs and improve your bottom-line.

Increased efficiency — The propane engines on Exmark mowers can increase fuel efficiency by up to 40% for extended runtimes, compared to traditional gasoline-powered mowers. At the same time, historical prices for propane run about 30% less than gasoline. With gasoline prices still low, this may not seem crucial – but if there’s one rule of gasoline prices, it’s that eventually, they always go back up.

EFI with E-Gov technology plays a big part in the efficiency of propane mower engines. Electronic Fuel Injection and E-Gov keep fuel flowing to your engine at a steady rate, even when your mower revs. This prevents engine drop-off when you hit a rough patch or tackle a steep grade. Gasoline mowers with mechanical regulators can be slow to respond to increased demand on the engine. Just as when you drive, an engine that runs at steady rate performs better than one that continually revs up to work harder.

Cleaner and Greener — Propane is remarkably stable over time, and can be stored for long periods. It also burns cleaner than gasoline, reducing build-up and engine maintenance. This means less mower downtime to have your machine in the field longer, and more profit. Another added benefit is lower emissions, which has become more of a selling point with customers.

Quieter — Propane mower engines are quieter to operate than gasoline or diesel mowers, which could let you start earlier and work later than competitors, and reduce the potential for noise complaints from neighboring properties.

For more information on switching your fleet to propane, see Exmark’s whitepaper, or talk to an Exmark dealer near you.

Project EverGreen and Exmark Team Up To Support The “Healthy Turf. Healthy Kids.” Initiative

June 5th, 2016
Exmark Lazer Z X-Series zero-turn mower

This top-of-the-line, suspension platform-equipped Exmark Lazer Z X-Series zero-turn mower could be yours… And proceeds from your ticket(s) go to support Project Evergreen’s “Healthy Turf. Healthy Kids.” Initiative.

Green industry contractors can take a chance on winning a top-of-the-line Exmark Lazer Z X-Series zero-turn mower worth more than $14,000, and help maintain healthier, safer recreational and athletic green spaces when you purchase a ticket for the Project EverGreen Mower Giveaway Raffle.

With generous support from Exmark, Project EverGreen is seeking to increase funding levels to further expand its “Healthy Turf. Healthy Kids.” Initiative that is revitalizing recreational and athletic green spaces across the country.

Over the last year “Healthy Turf. Healthy Kids.” projects have already been completed Atlanta, Cleveland, Milwaukee; North Chicago, Ill.; Belle Plaine, Minn.; Greensboro and Durham, North Carolina, and San Antonio, Ft. Worth and Round Rock, Texas.

Additional projects are planned this year for Red Bank, New Jersey; Detroit; and Portland, Oregon. View the latest project summaries and photos and see the difference green spaces make in a community.

Green industry professionals who purchase a Mower Giveaway raffle ticket will be eligible to win a top-of-the-line Exmark Lazer Z X-Series zero-turn riding mower with equipment including:

  • Suspended operator platform, with 3.6-inches of travel suspending the operator in vertical and fore/aft directions, and Exmark’s patented Iso-Mount system, which provides an additional 3/4-inch lateral and 1/2-inch of vertical bump isolation.
  • 60-inch UltraCut Series 6 cutting deck
  • Kawasaki FX801V twin-cylinder engine
  • A mower from the brand purchased 2-to-1 over the next best-selling brand by landscape maintenance professionals

“Project EverGreen is thrilled to partner with Exmark on this opportunity to raise awareness of programs – particularly “Healthy Turf. Healthy Kids.” – that personify the benefits of green spaces,” said Cindy Code, Project EverGreen executive director. “It’s also a fun opportunity for contractors to win a top-of-the line mower to use in their professional endeavors.”

Raffle tickets are $10 per ticket or six (6) tickets for $50. Tickets can be purchased through the Project EverGreen’s website at www.ProjectEverGreen.org.

The winning ticket will be drawn on Friday, October 21, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. in the Project EverGreen booth (# 10154) at the GIE + EXPO show in Louisville, Kentucky. The winner need not be present.

For complete contest rules visit the Project EverGreen website.

05

June

2016

June 5, 2016

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Proper Mowing Key to a Healthy Lawn

June 2nd, 2016
Exmark Pioneer S-Series

Experts say many turfgrass problems can be tracked back to improper mowing.

Many gardeners spend considerable time and money to produce a healthy, attractive lawn. Fertilizers are applied to promote root and shoot growth and produce a dark green lawn. When necessary, herbicides are used to control crabgrass and broadleaf weeds. While fertilization and weed control are important aspects of lawn maintenance, proper mowing is another vital key. In fact, many turfgrass problems can be traced back to improper mowing.

The Importance of Cut Height

Mowing height and frequency are the most important aspects of mowing. Bluegrass lawns should be maintained at 2 to 2 1/2 inches in the spring and fall months. Raise the mower blade to a height of 3 inches during summer. Mowing frequency is based on the growth rate of the turfgrass.

The 1/3 Rule

As a general rule, never remove more than 1/3 of the total leaf surface at any one mowing. For example, to maintain a lawn at 2 inches, the grass should be mowed when it reaches a height of 3 inches. In the spring it may be necessary to mow every 4 to 5 days, possibly only once every 1 to 2 weeks in summer, with more frequent mowing again in the fall. Irrigation and fertilization practices, and weather conditions dictate mowing frequency.

Mowing Tall Grass

Mowing grass that is much too tall is hard on the mower and, more importantly, is harmful to the grass. It weakens the turfgrass allowing weeds to move into the lawn. It may take several weeks for the grass to recover from a severe mowing. Another problem would be the large amounts of “hay” or clippings. Excessive amounts of clippings are unsightly, tend to smother the turfgrass and create an environment that favors disease development. Grass clippings should be bagged or raked and removed when mowing grass that has grown too tall.

Grass that has gotten extremely tall should be mowed as soon as possible. Raise the mower blade as high as possible, mow, and remove the grass clippings. Gradually reduce the height of the grass in later mowings until the lawn is being mowed at the proper height. When the lawn is mowed properly, the grass clippings do not have to be removed. The small clippings will simply filter down into the turf and decompose quickly, returning essential plant nutrients to the soil. Lawn clippings do not significantly contribute to thatch development.

Because mowers can cause serious injuries to the operator and others, follow safety precautions when mowing the lawn.

  • Dress appropriately: wear sturdy shoes and long pants.
  • Remove all debris including branches, stones, and toys from the lawn before mowing.
  • Keep children and pets at a safe distance to protect them flying debris.
  • Keep hands and feet away from the blade when the mower is running.
  • Never leave the mower running unattended (newer models automatically shut off).

Proper, careful mowing will help protect the health of the turf and the operator.

Written by Don Janssen, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Educator and reposted with permission.

You can find other yard and garden articles and resources on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension website.