Vary Mowing Patterns
Several weeks ago Facebook friend Jack Krause posted a photo showing his lawn and asking how he could improve its looks. He was dissatisfied with the browned spots and the mowing marks you could see in the grass.
It was probably 45 years ago that I was out mowing our St. Augustine lawn in Farmers Branch when I noticed that the blades were laying down in the direction I was walking. I had never varied my mowing pattern, and they had developed a “memory.” Two days later, the grass would pop back up (unevenly), and the lawn would need to be mowed again.
I decided to try what I’d observed at the professional ballparks. I started cutting my grass at 45-degree angles. Instead of mowing front-to-back and side-to-side in repetitive rectangles, I mowed corner-to-corner, and on the opposite side of the front walk, I reversed the pattern. The following week, I did just the opposite.
Six or eight of our neighbors noticed something was different about our lawn, but they couldn’t tell what it was. They asked, and when I explained, I saw them stopping by for a closer look. Several of them adopted my trick. To this day, that’s how I mow my lawn when I want a really professional-looking job of grooming the grass.
So that’s what I suggested to Mr. Krause. And I asked that he post a photo from the same angle one week later. He did that, and it looked better, but still not great. I could see that he hadn’t gone completely to the corner-to-corner technique, so I offered a few more suggestions.
When he sent me the photos of the third and fourth weeks, the differences were suddenly quite obvious. His lawn was solid, and the turf looked terrific. He added that he had raised the mower from 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 inches to get away from some of the post-mowing scalping marks, and it appears that he probably also gave it some nitrogen.
So I offer his set of photos taken one week apart as proof of my theory that changing your mowing patterns can make for a much prettier home lawn. And for not a lot of extra effort to boot.
Nice job, Jack Krause, and thanks for the loan of your photos.