Mowing problems

There are a various problems that you may come across when mowing the lawn. These can be caused by poor mowing techniques or poor mower set up, these problems include:

Scalping lawns

This condition is caused where the mower cuts the grass too short leaving unsightly brown patches where the grass has been scalped.

This can be caused by unevenness in the lawn, poor mower set up or excessive thatch creating soft conditions which cause the mower to sink in.

To avoid this problem:

  • Adjust Cutting Height: Set your mower at the appropriate cutting height for your grass type. Different grass varieties have different recommended cutting heights.
  • Follow the “One-Third Rule”: Never remove more than one-third of the grass blade length in a single mowing session. Regular mowing at the correct height will help prevent scalping.

Scalping can happen with both cylinder and rotary mowers.

Ribbing lawns

Ribbing is a series of short and long bands of grass running cross ways down the mower breed. There can be a number of causes for this problem. The cylinders can spin too slowly and create a ribbing effect on the grass. The grass can simply be too long or the mower may be set up incorrectly and is in need of adjustment.

To prevent ribbing:

  • Avoid Mowing on Wet Ground: Mow the lawn when the soil is dry to minimize the risk of wheel imprints.
  • Vary Mowing Patterns: Change the direction of your mowing pattern each time you mow. This will prevent the mower wheels from consistently traveling along the same path.

Bruising grass

This is where the grass tips turn brown after mowing, it also has a chewed effect where the mower has not cut cleanly. This can leave the grass open to disease attack as it takes longer to recover. The main causes of this is a poor mower set up or blunt blades, also ensure that the lawn is dry when you mow it.

Here’s how you can minimize grass bruising:

  • Reduce Tire Pressure: Check your mower’s tire pressure. Slightly reducing the tire pressure can help distribute the weight more evenly and minimize bruising.
  • Consider a Lighter Mower: If you consistently experience grass bruising, consider using a lighter mower or one with wider tires to reduce the pressure on the grass.

Washboarding lawns

This is a condition that is caused by mowing in the same direction each time you mow, this causes the mower to vibrate, which results in wash boarding. The end result is an uneven corrugated and rippled appearance.

Do not confuse it with ribbing (wash boarding creates and uneven surface while ribbing does not). The cure of wash boarding is to simply change the direction of cut each time you mow your lawn. However if the wash boarding is very severe the lawn may need top dressing to re-level the surface.

  • Mow When Soil is Dry: Avoid mowing when the soil is wet or compacted. Wet soil can cause the mower wheels to sink and create uneven mowing patterns.
  • Core Aeration: If your lawn is prone to washboarding, consider core aeration to alleviate soil compaction. Aeration helps water penetrate the soil more easily, reducing the chances of washboarding.
John Storm

Oliver Thompson
Lawn Care Expert

About Oliver: Oliver Thompson, a seasoned lawn care expert from the Cotswolds with over two decades of experience, invites all enthusiasts to join him in exploring the world of lawns, sharing knowledge, and fostering a vibrant community of lawn enthusiasts. More info

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