Regular lawn maintenance is crucial to keeping your turf healthy and beautifully green. There’s no problem if you’re mowing a small rectangular lawn, but it could get tricky if you’re mowing a larger territory with trees and uneven surfaces.
When it comes to mowing these large areas, you would need a riding mower to make mowing more efficient and less tiring. This heavy-duty machine also gets the job done faster, compared to when you’re doing it with a walk-behind or push lawnmower.
To make sure that you do it right, here is a simple tutorial on how to mow a lawn with a riding mower. We understand that operating this machine can seem complicated to those with little to no experience, so here’s how you do it with less stress on your part.
The first step is to do a routine check of the blade and deck area of your riding mower.
One of the things you have to look into is whether there’s debris left or stuck between the blade and deck. Some grass clippings can get stuck on the sides of the deck, especially if you decided to mow your lawn when the grass is still moist. This can cause the blade to cut unevenly, and that leaves you with a lawn that looks unprofessionally trimmed.
After checking between the blades and deck, make sure that the blade on your mower is sharp. We do not recommend touching the blade but check your calendar if it’s due for a sharpening. We advise getting it sharpened at least once or twice a year, depending on how often you mow your lawn.
After making sure that your riding lawn mower is in great shape, it’s now time to check the fuel and oil levels. This is essential since you don’t want your engine to run out of fuel while mowing in the middle of your estate. Additionally, it’s not advised to refuel the tank if the motor is still hot – and waiting for it to cool down before you refuel can take some time.
It is also necessary to check on the oil level as well to make sure that there’s enough to keep the engine running smoothly. We advise checking the oil levels once every three mows.
Also, your riding mower must undergo regular tune-ups at least once a year. For beginners, it’s advised to hire a professional to do it for you, but for those who are already familiar with the tune-up process, then you can do so on your own. This makes sure that your engine won’t malfunction any time soon – and that guarantees a longer life.
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With the blades and engine ready, you’re now ready to make the necessary adjustments to your riding mower’s cutting height. Adjustments can be made depending on the interface of each riding lawnmower, so you can check the manual if you’re not sure how.
On average, we recommend cutting only about a third of the top of the grass. This allows it to be long enough to keep weeds from growing yet short enough to look clean and well-maintained. For example, if you want to keep the grass at two inches, then we suggest waiting for the grass to grow to about three inches before you cut the 1-inch top off.
But bear in mind that this is just an example. It still depends on how long you want your grass to be. You must keep in mind, however, that grass that’s too short exposes the soil to the sun and that can lead to a dry and brown turf. That also makes it prone to weeds. And when it’s too long, it can leave the soil too moist and that can be a breeding ground for mold or fungi.
Thus, consider these when you’re making cutting height adjustments.
At this point, you’re now ready to mow your lawn. But as a final safety precaution, roam around the lawn to check if there are any debris and other obstructions that can clog your mower and cause it to malfunction.
We also advise putting up signs indicating that you’re mowing the area. This can prevent people from going into the lawn – especially if you’re planning to mow a large area that’s open to the public or guests.
Now, you’re ready to get the motor running. Before giving it a go, make sure that you’re wearing the appropriate safety gear to protect you from the heat of the sun while mowing.
To begin mowing, we advise clearing out the perimeter first and go around obstructions such as trees or shrubs. This will allow you to mow the inner area more smoothly, without fear of having to hit obstructions that could cause damage to your mower.
As to the appropriate time of mowing, we recommend some time in the late afternoon. Particularly, on a late afternoon when it hasn’t been raining all day. This makes sure that the grass is fully dry so you wouldn’t have to deal with wet grass clogging your mower.
If you mow in the morning, the grass may still be moist with morning dew, and that can make mowing more stressful for you.
After mowing the perimeter and around obstructions, we advise creating small rectangles or squares within the cleared out area. This will make your mowing more organized – especially if you have to work in a large area. Doing so will also help you mow in a straight line, compared to having to drive in one long line.
With smaller squares or rectangles within your lawn, you can now begin mowing back and forth from one side going to the other until you cover the entire area. As much as possible, create a slight overlap between each row to make sure that even those at the edges of the mower are well-trimmed.
Once you’re done with one square, move on to the next and follow the same steps. Continue doing so until you finish mowing the entire area of your lawn.
As a final tip, if you’re using a riding mower with a mulching function, make sure that the mulch is discharged on the side that’s previously cut already. This leaves you with a healthier lawn in the long run.
And that’s it – you now know how to mow a lawn with a riding mower.