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Charlottesville Lawn Mowing FAQ

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Mowing your lawn correctly has a huge effect on your lawn’s appearance and general health.  Understanding how to correctly mow your lawn will allow your grass to thrive in the unique Charlottesville climate. A task that is often overlooked, mowing correctly can go a long way in making your yard look beautiful. 

In this article, we’re going to go through some Frequently Asked Questions about lawn mowing in Charlottesville, Virginia, so that you can feel confident in cultivating a healthy lawn going forward. 

Let’s get started! 

How Long Should I Cut My Grass?

Especially going into the cooler season, it’s important not to cut your grass too short. 

Higher grass height has several benefits for your lawn, including: 

  1. Providing a deeper root system 
  2. A tendency to look more appealing to the eye 
  3. Less likelihood of weed invasion (particularly crabgrass)

Turf type fescue should be kept at about 3 inches during the winter months. During a drought or summertime, 3.5-4 inches tends to be a healthier length. 

What if I Get Behind on Mowing?

If you get behind on your mowing and have to lop off a large chunk of your grass to get back down to the 3” recommended height, you should break it down into several mowings. 

A good general rule is that you should never remote more than ⅓ of your lawn in one cutting, give or take. 

It might feel a little strange to cut your lawn in chunks, but especially with grass in Charlottesville, removing too much at one time will negatively affect the health of your yard. 

Contrary to popular opinion, grass clippings do not add to thatch buildup because the grass blades themselves are made up of about 75% water. 

By mowing only a third of your lawn at a time, you can ensure that the clipping left behind will quickly decompose and positively contribute to the ecosystem of your soil. 

Should I Mow After A Rain? 

You should avoid mowing your yard if your grass is wet from rain or weather conditions. 

Wet grass cuts less cleanly. This results in larger clippings, and can actually serve to uproot your yard as grass gets caught and yanked upwards by the mower blade. 

Wet clippings also like to clump together. This causes the grass to block up the mowers deck, which could be potentially hazardous for your mower. 

Mowing a wet lawn can also result in: 

  • A greater risk of rut damage due to soft soil
  • Improper mulching due to the grass being release in large, wet clumps 
  • Potential root damage 

If you can walk on your line and come away without wetness on the bottom of your shoes, it’s usually safe to mow. 

To be safe, you can press your hands into the soil to be more certain. 

If a wet week is coming, try to get your mow done before the rain arrives. It will save your lawn and mower a ton of headache! 

Which Direction Should I Mow My Lawn?

It’s easy to get into repetitive habits when mowing. 

However, best practice for shorter grass types usually found in Charlottesville is to mow in a different direction every time. 

Altering the direction of your mow ensures a more even cut. This is due to the fact that grass likes to grow in different patterns, and will return more erect with a varied mow. 

Don’t worry if you mow in the same direction a couple times in a row. You can always make the switch going forward! 

How Do I Keep My Mower Healthy?

Equally important as the health of your grass, keeping your mower in top shape will go a long way towards cultivating a beautiful yard. 

Keep your mower blade sharp. You should have it sharpened several times during the mowing season. You can buy your own blade sharpener and do it yourself, or have your local hardware / lawn care store do it for a relatively low price. 

It’s also a good idea to keep several blades on hand so that a sharp one is always available. 

Don’t forget to change your mower’s oil! Much like a car, your mower needs it’s oil changed. 

Usually you can get away with doing this once per season, but if you’re mowing frequently, you may need to replace it twice. 

If you didn’t drain your gas tank in the fall or use fuel stabilizer through the colder months, you should replace the old gas. Old gas can cause a number of potentially dangerous problems. 

Replace the old gas with fresh gasoline at the beginning of the new mowing season. It’s a cheap way to ensure that everything goes as planned. 

Should I Be Concerned About Grass Clippings?

Where your grass clippings end up matters. 

You should avoid discharging grass clippings onto the sidewalk, driveway, or street. Grass clippings left outside the yard can: 

  • Be washed into the sewers and cause clogging 
  • Pollute the sewers with fertilizer 
  • Contaminate your local area’s waterways 

Be a good community member, and always try to keep the clippings in your yard. Not only will it improve the health and recycling process of your lawn, but it will also make you a better neighbor. 

Are There Any Additional Safety Measures I Can Take?

Some best practices to keep in mind for safe mowing in Charlottesville are: 

  • Do a walkthrough of your yard to clear debris that could be shot out of your mower blade
  • Wear eye protection and protective clothing 
  • Keep children under 12 and pets out of the yard while mowing
  • Read and understand the operations / safety guides for your mower 

Conclusion

Charlottesville lawn mowing takes some attention. The way you mow your yard has a great effect on your lawn’s overall appearance. 

For a beautiful, healthy yard and a safe lawn mowing experience, follow the guidelines laid out above. With these best practices, you can have one of the most beautiful yards in all of Charlottesville! 

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