Caring For Your Lawn During The Spring And Summer Seasons

Some of the best lawn mower tips I have ever received were from lawn experts who taught me not only how to properly use my lawn mower, but also how to work it into an integrated strategy to keep my lawn looking healthy all year round. What they taught me was that my mower was only one tool in my arsenal and that I needed to do more than just mow properly to take proper care of my grass.

The tips that I received from these lawn experts literally changed my life. Once I started implementing their suggestions into my lawn care regimen, I realized that not only did my lawn look better but that my mowing was a whole lot easier to accomplish. Today, I am going to be sharing with you these same tips that were shared with me. In this first part, I am going to be sharing with you my tips for spring and summer lawn care. I hope these tips will make your yard work all that much simpler to do and results in your grass looking the best it can look.

Spring

Spring is the time of the year when you start getting your lawn ready for the growing season. Following these steps will result in a more resilient and better looking lawn.

Fertilize: You should purchase a good fertilizer with plenty of nitrogen in it to encourage a strong grass growth. There are many packages out there that work great, as long as you follow the directions on the package.

Water: If the last few months of spring was dry, then you might need to help your lawn out by watering it. On the other hand, if you have had an extremely wet spring, then don’t give your grass any extra water to prevent drowning it.

Mowing: Check lawn mower reviews and purchase the best mower possible. After you’ve done that, then cut the grass on a regular basis. Make sure that when you mow the lawn the first couple of times that you have your mower on the highest setting possible. After these first few cuts, then you can cut according to your recommended grass height.

Remove Thatch: Remove any dead grass (called thatch) from your lawn. You can use either a rake or a device called a scarifier. The choice is up to you.

Aerate: Make sure that you aerate your lawn. This can be done with a lawn fork or a lawn spike. Aerating your lawn will allow air to get to the grass roots and will result in a healthier grow.

Summer

Summer is the time of the year when your lawn is usually the most stressed due to lack of water and heat. You can help your grass endure this tough time of the year by following these steps:

Fertilizer: If necessary, you can give your lawn one more dose of fertilizer during the summer. But only if rainfall is predicted. Fertilizer during dry or hot weather can scorch the lawn so be careful.

Water – Water as necessary

Mowing: Cut the grass 1-2 times a week max. If the weather is extremely dry or hot, then try to cut the grass as little as possible to prevent stressing it even more.

Weeding: Make sure that you weed the lawn on a regular basis. Do this by removing the entire weed, roots and all, from the ground. If the weeds are small or widespread, then you might have to use an herbicide to get rid of them.

This concludes my guide on lawn care for the spring and summer months. You can continue on to my guide on the fall and winter months for tips on maintaining your lawn for these seasons.

Everything You Need To Know About Gas Powered Push Mowers

Almost 6 million gas-powered push mowers are sold in the United States each and every year. Which makes it one of the most popular types of mower on the market today. However, despite its popularity, not many people know what features they should look for in these type of mowers when they are deciding on one to buy. I am going to fix that problem today.

Before you buy one of these mowers, you should definitely check out lawn mower reviews to see what each model offers. That will give you a good idea of which features these models have. The guide that you are reading right now is going to tell you which of those features are important for your needs and which are not. Let’s start things off with the engine. The most important part on any mower.

The Engine

Lawn mower engines come in a variety of different sizes. These range from the small 140 cc engines to the big powerful 200 cc engines. Which engine size you should choose really depends on your mowing needs. If you have a relatively easy plot of yard to mow, then you can get away with choosing a mower with a smaller engine. On the other hand, if you have a lot of tough terrain to mow, then you are probably going to want to go with a mower with a bigger engine.

The Drive System

Some people think that the only things they need to consider about a mower’s drive system is whether it is self-propelled or not. Which isn’t entirely true. Sure, if you want to have to put in less work while you are mowing or have a large yard, then choose a self-propelled machine. If you don’t mind pushing the mower or have a smaller yard, then choose one that isn’t self-propelled. However, method of propulsion isn’t the only thing you need to consider about the drive system.

You also have to figure out if you need a front drive system or a rear drive system. Fortunately, that is something that is pretty easy to figure out. If you have to maneuver around a lot of obstacles, then choose a front-drive system because these offer more control. However, if you have to contend with a lot of slopes, then a rear-drive system is probably your best bet.

Wheels

Another feature often overlooked by people are the wheels on the mower. They are however, an important thing to consider when purchasing a lawn mower. Let’s go over two of the most basic wheel features.

Front Caster Wheels-These wheels give a great deal of maneuverability to the lawn mower, allowing them to cut corners and go around trees. However, they can often make raising the cut length of the mower a lot more inconvenient. That’s because each wheel has to be set independently before the blade height can be adjusted.

Rear Wheel Size-The larger the rear wheels the more easily you can push the mower over rough terrain. However, they may present some problems when you are adjusting the rear wheel height because large wheels often make the the rear wheel height adjustment lever hard to reach.

And that covers the basics of gas-powered push mowers. If you consider these features when you are looking for a mower to buy, then you will increase your chances of buying the best lawn mower possible.

Proper Lawn Mower Safety

Reading lawn mower reviews can tell you a lot about the mower you are about to purchase. They can tell you how energy efficient the mower is, how big of a job it can handle and how it will handle said job. However, one thing that they won’t tell you is how to run your mower in a safe manner. Fortunately, that isn’t something that is too hard to figure out, if you follow some of the common sense rules that I am going to lay out for you today.

For the most part, lawn mowers are fairly safe to operate. Every day, people all over the world fire up their lawn mowers and do it without incident. But don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security. Operating a mower requires preparation and serious consideration of all safety rules. Here are some of the things that you need to consider in order to operate your mower in a safe and efficient manner.

Familiarize Yourself With The Manual

One of the most important things you can do to minimize the risk of serious injury with your mower is to read the mower’s manual. The manual not only tells you how to properly maintain your mower but will also tell you what you can and can’t do with your machine. Therefore it is very important that you familiarize yourself with the manual before you start it for the first time.

Proper Maintenance Makes For A Safer Machine

Some lawn mower accidents are easily prevented with a little bit of maintenance. Making sure that the undercarriage and the muffler is free of debris can prevent your mower from overheating. As with any machine, proper maintenance will not only help it run better but make it a lot safer to use.

Wear The Proper Attire

Not many people give what their mowing attire much thought but they really should. Wearing the proper outfit can ensure that you remain safe while you are mowing. When ever you are operating the mower you should wear eye protection, long pants and close-toed shoes. You should also ensure that your clothing isn’t loose.

Survey The Terrain

You should also take the time to do a proper survey of your yard. You should walk through the yard, without your mower, and take a good look around. Get a good idea where all of the possibly dangerous obstructions are. You should also take the time to remove any stones or rocks that might be picked up by the mower and thrown.

Keep Track Of Kids And Pets

Make sure that all kids and pets are at a safe distance from the mower. Not only from the blades but from objects that might be thrown by the blades.

These are the best lawnmower safety tips that you can follow. If you pay attention to these five areas, then your mower experience will be a whole lot safer for you and your family.

Summer Lawn Care

Lawn mower reviews can tell you a lot about your mower, but they don’t tell you how to properly use it. That is why I am writing this article on summer lawn care today. This guide is intended to tell you how to keep your lawn looking good throughout the hot and dry summer months. A time of the year that is the hardest on your grass than any other time of the year.

Below are some tips that will not only keep your grass alive and healthy but will make your lawn a field of dreams. Follow these tips and your neighbors are sure to be green with envy at your beautiful and well groomed yard.

Plan Your Mowing

You should always make sure that you plan out your mowing before hand so that you don’t have to constantly switch from your mower to your other yard tools. For example, you might want to do all of the mowing first and then switch to your trimmer to finish up the border of the yard.

Make A Wide Border

Start with mowing a collar around your yard. The first thing you should do is cut the outside edges of your yard so that you can keep things all nice and neat.

Don’t Cut The Grass Too Short

Cutting the grass too short can strain the root system of your grass and result in ugly brown patches and ruts. Cutting the grass too short can also help weed seeds get more sunlight and sprout. Therefore, you should always cut the grass to the recommended height as determined by your grass type.

Take Your Time

You should never rush mowing your yard. This is true whether the grass is wet or dry. Trying to hurry up and cut the grass can result in an uneven cut and can also result in clumps of poorly mulched trimmings.

Keep Focused

Most people look down at their mower as they are mowing, which is a mistake. To keep an even cut, you should look about 10 feet in front of your mower instead of staring straight down. It will help you keep your mowing lines straight.

Try Mulching

I know a lot of people bag their trimmings, but I think a better solution is to mulch the trimmings. Mulching feeds nutrients back into the grass and results in a much better looking lawn.

Alternate Your Mowing

Changing your mowing pattern each week will help your grass grow stronger and straighter. One week, mow horizontally across your yard and the next week, mow vertically across your yard,.

These are the best lawn mower tips I can give you for maintaining a beautiful lawn all summer long. Follow these seven steps and your lawn will be lush, green and strong, even through the hottest summer months.

Lawn Mowing Tips For The Mower Beginner – Part Two

In the first part of my mowing guide for beginners, I outlined some of the things you need to do to get setup to mow. Now that I have covered those basics, it is time to move on to actually mowing your yard. Below you will find the best lawn mower practices for the mower beginner. Follow them and you’ll be on your way to a professional looking lawn in no time flat.

Step Four

Before we actually start mowing however, there is one more thing that needs to be done to the mower. The wheel height needs to be adjusted properly. This can be usually be done with a lever on the side of the back and/or front wheels. Put the lever down to lower it and pull it up to raise it. The exact mechanics of it depends on the type of mower you have, but that is usually how it works.

At this point, you are probably going to ask me “what’s the best mowing height for my mower?” Well, that depends on your grass. Different types of grass needs to be cut at different heights. Check the following table for some of the more common grasses and their recommended cutting height:

Warm Season Grasses:
St. Augustine: 1 to 3 inches
Buffalo: 2 to 4 inches
Zoysia: 0.5 to 3 inches
Bermuda: 0.5 to 2.5 inches

Cold Season Grasses:
Kentucky Bluegrass: 0.75 to 3.5 inches
Fine Fescue: 2 to 4 inches
Perennial Ryegrass: 0.75 to 2.5 inches

Step Five

Now we can start mowing. To begin with, you should start with a simple back-and-forth pattern. You completely one row of grass, turn around and then do the next row. And you continue to do this until the entire lawn is completed. Once you have gained experience, you can move on to more advanced lawn cutting patterns.

While you are cutting your rows, make sure that you overlap them slightly. This may seem like it requires more work, but in actuality it is quite the opposite. Overlapping your rows will result in less resistance and will prevent you from having to go back and mow over areas you might have missed.

Another thing you need to do is cut your grass early in the morning, after the morning dew has dried off of the grass. Also be sure now to cut your grass too law. This is called “scalping” and is really bad for the health of your grass.

Step Six

After you have finished mowing, you can now tidy up. Use a rake to clean up lawn clippings or empty your mower bag. Remove all of the debris that has accumulated under your mower (be sure to disconnect the spark plug first for safety) and perform any daily maintenance that the lawn mower manual or the lawn mower reviews have prescribed for your particular machine. Now you can pat yourself on the bag for completing your first mowing job. Congratulations!

Maintenance Tips For Your Mower

One of the biggest complaints that people have about their lawn mowers is the complaint that they don’t feel their mowers last as long as they should. That may be due to the fact that many people don’t properly read lawn mower reviews before they run out and purchase one, but it may also be due to the fact that many people don’t practice proper mower maintenance. A little bit of maintenance really goes a long way to keep a mower running to the best of its efficiency.

In order to help my readers keep their mowers running their best, I have decided to write this article on proper mower maintenance. If you follow this guide, you will not only get more out of your mower but it will come a whole lot closer to its maximum life expectancy.

Read The Manual

I know that I have mentioned this in several articles I have written, but that’s because it is one of the most important steps in keeping your mower running its best. Your manual not only gives you proper operating procedures for your brand of mower, but most importantly tells you what you need to do to keep it in good working order.

Change Your Air Filter

Your air filter is one of the most important things on your mower to change regularly. A clean air filter keeps debris from entering your carburetor and damaging your engine. Your air filter needs to be changed after every 24 hours of operation or at least once every mowing season.

Check Oil

Most people know that they need to change the oil in their car every 3 months, but they don’t realize that the oil in their lawn mower also needs to be changed on a regular basis. After every 50 hours of use, be sure to check your oil and replace it if necessary.

Check Spark Plug

The spark plugs need to be checked and replaced on a regular basis. Usually this depends on the model of mower that you own (so you should check your manual), but many experts agree that it should be changed at least once per season.

Check The Blade

It is vital that you check the blades on your mower on a regular basis. The blade should be checked at the beginning of each mowing season. If after inspection you notice that the blade is broken or dented, then you should replace it immediately. You should also make sure that the blade is well balanced and sharp.

Follow these tips and you will be amazed at not only how well your mower runs but also how long it lasts.

Lawn Mowing Tips For The Mower Beginner – Part One

I have written a few advanced articles for those of you who consider yourselves mowing enthusiasts, but today I am going to switch things up a bit and write an article for those of you who are new to mowing. Today, I am going to give you the best lawn mower tips I have for beginners, so if you already have experience with mowing, then this guide may seem a little basic to you. It is only for those who are truly uninitiated in the art of lawn mowing. With that being said, let’s get right down to business and get this guide started.

Difficulty Level: Very easy

Time Required: Depends on the size of the lawn but generally requires only about 2-4 hours of time. This includes the amount of time required to get everything together and set up.

Step One

The first thing you are going to want to do is to find yourself a mower. If you are just cutting your grass one time (which probably isn’t the case), then you can probably burrow a mower from a friend or a family member. However, if you plan to mow your grass on a regular basis, then you are probably going to want to buy the best equipment possible. The first place to start are lawn mower reviews. These will give you all of the specs you need to know about a particular mower before you buy it.

Since there are so many reviews it is probably best to narrow down what kind of mower you need before you start. If you have under 500 square feet of lawn, then the best mower to buy is most likely a reel mower. While it requires more physical work, it is simple to use and doesn’t make as much noise as a gas mower. If you have over 500 square feet but under an acre, then you will want to get either a gasoline or an electric mower. Those of you with an acre or more will most likely want to get a riding mower.

Step Two

The next thing you want to do is to make sure your mower is in good condition. You want to make sure that it is assembled correctly and all the parts are in good working condition. If it’s gas powered, then make sure it has gasoline and oil in it.

Also check the blades. For safety reasons, most mowers don’t come with sharp blades, so make sure that you either sharpen them yourself or take them to someone who can do it for you. On average, a lawn mower will have to have its blades sharpened at least 2-3 times a season.

Step Three

Make sure that your yard is clear of all obstacles. Use a rack to pick up loose rocks, branches or other things that might harm the mower blades or get flung by the mower. It’s not always possible to get everything picked up, but you should try to get as much as possible.

Now that you have selected your mower, made sure it works correctly and have cleared the yard of all obstacles, it is now time to begin mowing. Please consult part two of this guide for guidelines on yard mowing.

Caring For Your Lawn During The Fall And Winter Months

If you haven’t read my article on taking care of your lawn during the spring and summer months, then I urge you to do that before reading this article. Today, we are going to be talking about the taking care of your grass during the fall and winter months. These are not only the best lawn mower tips for the care of your lawn during these months, but are the best tips for the overall general care of your lawn.

Fall

The fall season is an important time of the year for lawn care. Proper care during this season will not only help the grass recover from a busy spring and summer season, but will also ensure that it is strong enough to survive the low temperatures of winter.

Fertilizer: Most people neglect to feed their lawn during the fall season, but it is one of the most important feedings of the year for your lawn. It is done much in the same way as the spring feeding but there is one main difference. Instead of using a fertilizer high in nitrogen, you should use one that is high in potassium. That is because the lawn is preparing to become dormant and therefore doesn’t need any extra nitrogen. What it does need though is potassium; a nutrient that will help it build stronger roots for the upcoming winter.

Top Dressing: You should apply a good top dressing to your lawn. Following this step will promote the microbial activity in your soil, which in turn will result in healthier grass. You can either use a commercial top dressing from your local garden center, or you can make your own by mixing sand, compost and loam. For proper top dressing procedures and considerations, please see my article on top dressing your lawn.

Mowing: Hopefully, you have already checked out lawn mower reviews and bought a mower that has a height adjustment. That’s because you are going to want to cut your grass one last time and you want to use the highest setting possible on your mower. This last cut should be done as late as possible in the fall.

Raking: Make sure that you rack up all of your leaves and cut them up for compost. These composted leaves can then be used as the basis for next year’s fall top dressing.

Aerating: Make sure that you do a deep aeration of your lawn. You can do this by spiking down approximately 4 inches into your soil. This will allow air to get to the roots.

Winter

There isn’t a whole lot of things to do with your lawn at this time of the year, but there are a couple of things you need to consider, especially if you want to prepare the lawn for turf laying in the spring.

Pick Up Excess Leaves: Any leaves that have fallen since your fall raking need to be immediately picked up because you don’t want them blocking out what little sunlight there is and killing the grass. You can either remove them with a rake or use your mower if it has a bagging option.

Preparing For Turf: If the weather isn’t too cold, then you can dig up the areas of your lawn where you intend to lay turf in the spring.

That concludes my article on taking care of your lawn during the fall and winter seasons. Following these tips will help keep your lawn in better condition and make your next season of mowing that much easier.

Getting Your Lawn Mower Ready For Winter Storage

One thing that I have really learned from reading people’s comments in the comment sections of many lawn mower reviews is that there continues to be some people who don’t practice proper winter storage for their mowers. They don’t seem to realize that properly storing a mower for the winter season can mean the difference between a running mower in the spring and a mower that is heading to the repair shop. Proper winter maintenance is one of the most important things you can do to keep your mower running properly. So without further ado, let’s take a few moments to learn what “proper winter maintenance really means.

Remove the battery

One of the first things you’ll want to do before your store your mower for the winter is to remove the battery if your mower has one. That’s not only because a connected battery loses its charge faster than an unconnected one, but also so that it doesn’t corrode the battery cables.

After you remove the battery make sure you store it in a cool dry place that is away from gasoline, your water heater or your furnace. Remove the negative cable from the battery first and then remove the positive cable. After you’ve done that you should then wipe the battery off with a clean cloth. Also be sure that you clean the battery terminals off with a wire brush and apply a good coating of petroleum jelly to the terminals to keep them from corroding. Now the battery can be safely put away.

Use A Fuel Stabilizer

You don’t want to leave untreated fuel in your lawn mower. If you do, it can create a varnish like substance that can clog your carburetor. That is why it is important to either use a fuel stabilizer or completely remove old fuel from your mower before you put it away for winter.

If you opt to use a fuel stabilizer, then be sure that you use it correctly. You should follow all directions on the label and all of your mower manufacturer’s guidelines.

Clean Debris Off Of Mower

Make sure you remove all mud, grass and leaves from your mower’s undercarriage. Before removing all of this debris, then be sure to disconnect your spark plug to avoid any potential accidents.

Find A Home For Your Mower

Now you can find a place to store your lawn mower. Be sure to place it in a location that is dry and will protect it from the weather. Someplace like your basement, shed or garage.

And that concludes the best lawn mower practices for proper winter maintenance. Follow these simple steps and you can count on your mower working for you for many seasons to come. Proper winter maintenance will go a long way in keeping your mower running properly.

Lawn Mower Troubleshooting (Common Operational Problems) – Part Two

In our last article, we covered some of the problems that could be easily troubleshooted on a lawn mower. These were problems with either the engine not starting, or the engine stalling out once it has started. Today, we are going to cover a whole other set of problems. Some of the more common ones that I have noticed people complaining about in the comment sections of various lawn mower reviews. I believe these are some of the most common problems people have with the operation of their mower. Fortunately, all of these problems can be easily fixed. Let’s cover them and get your machine back out there doing what it does best, cutting the grass.

Starter Rope Won’t Pull Or Is Hard To Pull

Most of the time this is due to not holding down the safety bar on the mower. The safety bar stops the engine from running whenever the handle is let go. This is to keep the mower from running away and mowing down everything in its path. Make sure that the safety bar (called an engine brake) is held down while you are trying to start your mower.

If that doesn’t solve the problem, then check the underside of the mower’s carriage. If there is a bunch of grass collected around the blades, then the engine of the mower won’t turn. Disconnect your spark plug wire, push your mower to a hard surface and remove the excess clippings from around the blades. This usually solves the problem.

The Mower is Cutting In An Uneven Fashion

Usually this problem is accompanied by some sort of vibration coming from the mower as well. If that is the case, then check for these problems:

Clean Debris From Blades: Once again, it is most likely a problem with debris build-up. If so, then follow the steps from problem no. 1 and clean the debris out.

Check Blades: If you’ve cleaned out all of the debris from under you mower and that doesn’t solve the problem, then you might need to check the blades. They might be dull, broken or loose. Check and replace them as necessary.

Mower Is Smoking

If your mower starts smoking while you are using it, then your first response might be to panic. Before you worry and take the mower to a repair shop, check out these out first:

Check The Oil Chamber: If there is too much oil in the chamber, then it can cause the mower to smoke.

Make Sure Oil Hasn’t Spilled: Sometimes a smoking lawn mower is simple the result of oil spilling out on the exhaust. If this was done while the mower was being filled, then it will eventually burn off. Also check your oil cap and make sure that it is on firmly.

If neither of these items solve the problem or the machine has white smoke coming out of it, then you might need to have the machine checked by a professional.

And that concludes this article on the best lawnmower troubleshooting tips. Hopefully, it will keep you from having to take your mower to a repair shop on a regular basis and keeps your lawn mower running the way it should run.