A Mowing Tip to Surprise You

When the reader asked how he could eliminate streaks in his lawn after each mowing, I suggested that he vary his mowing patterns.

Bermuda lawn looks uneven after mowing in this “Before” photograph. I’ll call it “Reader friend Week 1”.
Click the image for larger view.

My reply to the reader called on a trick I’d learned while we still lived in Farmers Branch. That would have been 50 years ago. I had noticed that my own grass 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.

Continued Below

Some plush carpets will do the same thing. You vacuum them one direction and they look entirely different than when you vacuum them in the opposite direction.

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 professional looking job of grooming the grass.

Reader Friend Week 2: My reader friend sent me a photo the following week from the same angle.

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.

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Reader Friend, Weeks 3 and 4:
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.

Week 1 – Click image for larger view.
Week 2 – Click image for larger view.
Week 3 – Click image for larger view.
Week 4 – Click image for larger view.

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.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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