How to Avoid Mower Damage

Aug 19, 2021 | General

Mower damage is stress caused to the turf by not mowing your lawn often enough or too short. It typically appears on the lawn within a day or so after mowing. It has the appearance of brown/yellowish stripes in the direction of your mowing pattern. This discoloration can also occur in areas of the lawn that are not level such as hills or depressions in the lawn that affect the height of your mower blade. Simply put, you’re basically cutting the green out of your lawn.

How to Fix Mower Damage

The good news is that the damage isn’t going to be permanent and your lawn will recover naturally if the correct actions are taken. Make sure that your lawn is receiving extra watering cycles as it’s recovering from the discoloration. Fertilizer can be applied to help speed up recovery as well. Full recovery can take up to a month if not longer depending on the damage. Below is an example of one week of watering a lawn that was stressed from being cut too low. 

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How to Avoid Mower Damage

Mower damage can easily be avoided by using the following steps:

  1. Make sure to mow your lawn every 5-7 days.
  2. Do not mow more than ⅓ of the grass blade off at a time to avoid cutting too close to the root system.
  3. Keep your mower blades sharpened every season. 
  4. In the hotter summer months, raise the height of your mower deck.

What is the 1/3rd Rule?

The ⅓ rule is simply not ever removing more than a ⅓ of your grass blade at a time. This is the healthy amount of foliage to remove from the grass to keep it looking nice. For example, if you haven’t mowed your lawn in 3 weeks and cut it down to 1-2 inches in height you’ll likely cause stress and have discoloration from mower damage. This is one of the most common mistakes made every year by homeowners and landscapers. 

When should you start/stop mowing your lawn?

You’ll want to start mowing warm season (Bermuda/zoysia) turf typically right before the growing season begins in Mid April to May, depending on the weather. You’ll want to cut as low as you can this first time to remove the dead layer of dormant turf and any additional thatch build-up. Make sure to bag your clippings when you do this. You can stop mowing towards the end of the season once the turf stops growing around November depending on the weather. 

For Fescue turf, once the fall overseeding has occurred you’ll want to wait a minimum of a month before mowing and then keep it at a height of about 2-2 1/2 inches and 3 inches during the hotter summer months to avoid heat stress.

At All Turf Lawn Care, our technicians leave personal notes and tips with each application to help you get the best results from not only our service but your maintenance. If you need advice or lawn care tips, feel free to contact us today. We can also get you a quote for our monthly lawn care program or connect you with a local landscaper in the Atlanta area for mowing!


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