Before mowing the lawn you should carry out some pre-mowing routines. These should be done every time you mow the lawn.
First of all you should remove any debris and objects that are on the lawn surface. This can include the removal of twigs, leaves, stones, childrens toys, pet droppings and bones. The reasons for clearing the lawn surface include
- Increased safety – lawn mowers can throw stones and objects such as childrens marbles out from underneath them at great speed causing cuts, broken bones and eye injuries. See lawn mower safety for more information.
- Removal of lawn surface objects will prevent damage to the lawn mower blades and other lawn mower parts that can be caused by hard objects
- Surface debris such as leaves and pet droppings will be squashed into the lawn surface by the weight of the lawn mower. As well as creating unwanted lumps and bumps on the lawn surface this can mean that the sunlight is unable to penetrate the compacted layer of debris which results in the grass underneath dying or losing its vigour.
Make sure that the grass and turf is not wet or waterlogged. Waterlogged turf will be compacted by the weight of the mower and your footsteps and the mower’s roller or side wheels are likely to sink into the wet turf. This results in unsightly depressions, markings and and tracks.
Brush the lawn surface with a besom broom before you start mowing. This prevents the grass from lying flat and will help the grass and weeds to ‘sit up’ so that they are sitting proud to the mower blades. This will ensure that the grass is cut at the desired length. Brushing the surface of the lawn will also disperse any worm casts that may be present on the lawn surface. Removal of worm casts is importants as otherwise they will be squashed and compressed by the mower as it passes over the worm cast. This will leave an apparent ‘bare patch of mud’ on you lawn. Brushing the lawn can also remove any remaining dew that may be left on the tips of the grass.
Before you start mowing the lawn determine which direction you want your stripes to go. You should aim to make the stripes at right angles to the stripes that were created the last time you mowed the lawn. Alternating the direction of the stripes with each cut helps avoid the unsightly corrugated appearance that is known as washboarding.
Your final task before you actually mow the lawn is to check your lawn mower to ensure it is ready for the job. If your mower is a petrol mower then have you checked to see there is enough petrol in its tank. Have you set the lawn mower blades to the correct height? The height the blades are set to should vary with the climatic seasons and the type of grasses that make up the lawn.
Obtaining a neat striped lawn appearance is relatively simple if you have the right lawn mower type. Both rotary mowers and cylinder lawn mowers are capable of producing the striped effect. Lawn mowers that have a rear roller will produce the best striped effect. For more information see creating lawn mower stripes.