Don’s Top Eco-Friendly Lawn Care Tips for Northern Ohio
Lawn mowing might seem simple. But it’s easy to get it wrong and damage all the great work you’ve put into your lawn over the years.
You don’t have to work from dawn to dusk to get a beautiful lawn. You just need a few reliable lawn mowing tips!
Although we don’t provide mowing and maintenance services at Ecolawn, customers often ask me for lawn care tips. I love helping homeowners get beautiful green lawns! So I thought, why not provide a complete guide to all of my best tips for maintaining your lawn.
In this guide, I’ll explain how to care for your lawn throughout the season. Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Getting Your Mower Ready
- Preparing the Lawn
- Finally! Time to Mow!
- The Right Mowing Height
- Giving Your Lawn Time to Wake Up
- How Often to Mow?
- Managing Weeds
- Edging Guidelines
- Fall Maintenance
Getting Your Mower Ready
So here it is: Spring after a looooong winter! You look outside, and the grass is looking shaggy. It’s time to start mowing your lawn. We need to start with your mower.
- Make sure the mower is clean. Use a lubricant on all the cables, wheel adjustment levers and cables.
- Put a new blade on it or sharpen the old one.
- Check the oil and put fresh gas in (or use a freshly charged battery).
- Set your mower to the center height setting on the front and back wheels.
- Inflate the tires on your mower to replace air that leaked out during the winter. Be sure to use the right air pressure!
Preparing Your Lawn
I know you’re excited to start your lawn mowing, but hold on there just a minute! Before you rush out there with your freshly oiled mower, let’s take a look in the yard.
- Pick up all the sticks and branches that fell.
- Collect Rover’s toys–and other surprises-in the backyard.
- Rake up any leaves that came down late.
- Give it a general walk through just to be sure.
These are good basic safety measures. They’ll also help you avoid damage to your mower or blades.
Finally! Time to Mow!
At your first mowing in the Spring here in Mentor, OH, mow your lawn on its middle height setting and collect the clippings.
Why? Because the mower will lift out some of the debris, leaves and junk that’s been sitting there all winter.
Raking after your first cut of the spring also helps with managing snow mold. Who knew lawn mowing could affect snow mold? Snow mold is a lawn disease that forms in late winter, and it gives your grass a matted look. Luckily, this is easily solved with some raking to allow the air and light in.
The Right Lawn Mowing Height
After the first lawn mowing, go ahead and set your mower on its highest setting. I always recommend keeping your grass at 4 inches during the growing season in Northeastern, Ohio. Here’s Why:
- A taller lawn means healthier roots and that means your grass is thicker.
- A thick lawn doesn’t have room for weeds, so there’s less control product used.
- Mowing to a shorter length can stress the crown. This weakens the roots and invites disease and pests.
- Leaving grass longer allows roots to grow deeper, which creates a stronger and more resilient lawn.
- A taller lawn also means less watering. A shorter lawn exposes soil to the sun and can dry out quicker, which means you’ll need to water more frequently.
- Longer grass creates natural shade that holds moisture and reduces the need for watering.
- A taller lawn is better for the environment, because it prevents soil erosion, reduces runoff, and promotes healthy soil.
Let’s not forget about the aesthetic benefits. A taller lawn looks lush, full, and just plain beautiful. It gives your yard a more natural and welcoming feel that’s more enjoyable to look at. It feels good to wiggle your toes in, too!
Todd Hicks and Joe Rimelspach turf grass pathology experts of The Ohio State University say mowing heights less than 3.5 inches increases the likelihood that weeds will move in because more sunlight for weeds means more weed germination.
Giving Your Lawn Time to Wake Up
Here in Mentor, OH, and other Northeast, OH, towns, lawns start waking up in mid-March. It takes a month or more before your grass really gets growing. It’s not going to look so good during this time, because it’s waking up!
You might even notice your lawn has a patchy or inconsistent look in early spring. Some of it starts growing while other areas are still brown–and this is perfectly normal.
Lawns are made up of different kinds or blends of grasses and they wake up at slightly different times in Spring. In a few short weeks, using these lawn mowing practices, your lawn will be looking great!
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How Often to Mow Your Lawn in Northeast, Ohio?
You’ll see the best results when you mow as needed rather than a certain day of the week. Life is hectic, so we know you’re not just watching the grass grow, but keep an eye on your lawn.
A good rule of thumb is: Don’t remove more than a third of the grass blade at a time. Taking off too much causes stress. It will have a yellow or brown tint, and weeds will hop right in! Your lawn will grow faster or slower in direct relation to weather. If it’s cool and rainy, it grows faster than when it’s hot and dry.
Managing Ohio Weeds
Your grass will start looking great when the temperatures consistently stay in the 50’s and 60’s. You’ll start seeing some weeds, too.
You might think, “Hey, what happened? I thought you applied a pre-emergent!” You’re right, we sure did-or we will when we’re out for your first (and second) visit. A pre-emergent prevents crabgrass and certain other weeds from showing up.
Weeds are tricky, though. Pre-emergent only works on some of them. Others have to be growing first before we can treat them. Weeds don’t like to die if it’s too cold out, but they’ll start wilting after a few weeks.
Pay close attention to the edges of your grass. All the places where your grass meets pavement are literal ‘hot spots’ where stress occurs and trouble starts!
Be sure your sprinkler covers the edges when using an edger. Use a metal blade edger at a 90 degree angle to your lawn–straight up and down. Avoid cutting a 45 degree angle. In other words, keep the edges of your grass at the same 4” mowing height as the rest of your grass.
Follow the same guidelines along the edges of your shrub beds, too. Stressed edges due to scalping are where weeds LOVE to invade your lawn! If you have a lawn service mowing your grass, watch for edges cut too short. Be sure to remind them to follow these guidelines.
Fall Lawn Maintenance in Northeast, Ohio
I love how grass looks in Mentor, OH, and the surrounding areas as Fall approaches. The deep, green color contrasts with the reds and yellows of fall. Have you ever looked out after a rain when the tree trunks are dark and the leaves show up against a deep, green lawn? Wow!
Homeowners often want to mow shorter so that Fall so leaves blow off more easily. We see landscapers mowing at 2” in September, but from my perspective, it’s still summertime!
Your lawn’s favorite time of year is late summer when the temperatures drop and the rainfall increases. The roots in your grass are the most active now. Your lawn is in a rebuilding period after a long, hot summer.
Fall is also the BEST time for spot seeding or even planting an entirely new lawn if you want. It’s easier for the new seedlings to germinate and grow, and there’s less competition from crabgrass and other weeds.
You can go a bit shorter for the last mow of the season in mid-November. Use the center setting on your mower. This will help to prevent snow mold when Spring rolls back around.
As for the leaves, do your best to keep most of them cleared from your lawn. Especially when they accumulate in the corners because the leaf cover will suffocate your grass and weeds will invade later.
Now you have all of my tried and true tips for a beautiful lawn to enjoy all through Summer and Fall. Grab your trusty lawn mower, set it to the right height, and give your lawn the love it deserves. Your grass (and the environment) will thank you.
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