Proper mowing is as important a part of care as any other maintenance item. With attention to just a few details truly spectacular results can be achieved.
Some very important rules of thumb to follow to get the best results are:
USE SHARP BLADES
Keep the mower blades sharp to get a nice clean cut. Dull blades don't cut, they rip or tear the blades. Cutting with dull blades damages the grass, makes it susceptible to disease and makes it look bad. Cutting with dull blades while dry produces a white fuzzy look while doing it wet gives a dark or "mushed" look to the ends of the grass. See how to back lap your greens mower for a nice clean cut.
Mow frequently so you are never taking off more than 1/3 of the length of the blades. Start early in the season. Taking off more than this also damages the plant, makes it more susceptible to disease and gives the grass a yellow look to it as most of the nice green material is removed and the off color bottom is exposed.
First Mowing of the Season
MOW DRY NOT WET
Mow dry if possible. Both rotary and reel mowers operate better and pick up the clippings best when the grass is drier than when saturated with rain or dew. Reel type greens mowers with a roller built in will tend to create a slimy top soil layer, mat down the grass and drop clippings in clumps when the grass is wet. Use a "Dew Whip" to take dew off the greens before mowing in the morning.
WHEN COOL NOT HOT
Don't mow when it is extremely hot, sunny and arid. Grass likes the weather like people do. If it's too hot and arid, mowing can make the blades dry out after cutting and kill the plant.
CUT STRIPES NOT CIRCLES
Mow stripes instead of circles. They just look better. Alternate the direction of the stripes ~60 degrees from the direction of the last mowing. If you can't do this at least go in the opposite direction of the last mowing. This will keep the grass from matting down which happens if you always mow in the same direction.
SET PROPER HEIGHT
Mow to the proper height. Keeping the grass too long promotes disease and too short promotes damage from drying. We mow grass to 3 different heights, depending on where and when we're cutting, and use three different mowers set at the correct height. The greens are mowed the shortest, followed by the tees, approaches and collars (fairways) and then the rough (lawn). The length of cut in the lawn is increased in the summer to help minimize stress on the grass.
The approximate mowing heights and equipment used are as follows:
|Area||Mower Type||Mowing Height|
|Greens||10 Blade Reel Mower, 20" Cut Width||1/8" to 3/16"|
|Tees, Approaches and Collars (Fairways)||10 Blade Reel Mower, 20" Cut Width||3/4"|
|Rough (Lawn)||3 Blade Rotary Mower, 60" Cut Width||3 1/2" to 4 1/2"|