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Old 04-19-2003, 04:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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The_Dude's Avatar
Location: Austin, TX
Mow a lawn properly?

Ok, here's the deal

we just moved into this house and the people that lived there before us didnt take care of the lawn properly.

we have one of those manual lawnmovers and a trimmer.

I tried moving the front lawn w/ the manual mower, but i started hearing all these "tup" noises like the mover was running over something.

I looked around and i saw some branches (dead ones that fell from a tree and a few dead acorn lookin deals) and i dont wanna run the mover those.

so, what's the solution here?
"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." - Darrel K Royal
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Old 04-19-2003, 05:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Location: the phoenix metro
you'll need a rake (preferrably a metal one, but if you must, you can use a plastic one) or you can go out and buy a gas-powered machine and just mow it all down to hell. rake up all of the crap from your yard, then run the push-mower. you'll want to mow up and down both sides a few times to clear enough space to turn around, then criss-cross your lawn with the push-mower.
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Old 04-19-2003, 06:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
Location: louisianna
agrees,with the green dude whole heartedly. another thought, walk the yard and pick up stuff thats in the way . that the mower might come in contact with. as alredy stated though bud, in the near future you will need a gas powred mower . or sheep or cattle or a goat . lol good luck bud!
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Old 04-19-2003, 07:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
Location: P.R. Mass.
Rake up what you can. When you do indeed get a power mower, make sure that you keep an eye out for peds and cars the first couple of times you mow so that you don't launch an acorn or rock at a pa$$erby.

Alternate mowing directions as much as possible through the year too.
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Old 04-19-2003, 07:33 PM   #5 (permalink)
pay someone else to do the work -nods-
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Old 04-19-2003, 07:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
The GrandDaddy of them all!
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Location: Austin, TX
LOL, i didnt mean manual meaning like you had to turn the deal kinda manual.

it is gas powered, but you push it around.

i meant that instead of the one you just drive.
"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." - Darrel K Royal
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Old 04-19-2003, 09:58 PM   #7 (permalink)
it's jam
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Location: Lowerainland BC
a manual mower in my book is a reel-type, push mother fucker, push, type mower.
You could also airate the soil if its a hard clay type.
nice line eh?

Last edited by splck; 04-19-2003 at 10:01 PM..
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Old 04-20-2003, 11:59 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Location: tentative, at best
Speaking as someone who has <i>way</i> too much experience mowing lawns, I'd have to agree with the posters above.

If all the stuff in your yard is an accumulation of years of neglect, you should probably bite the bullet and rake the whole yard - get a fresh start.

If it's from messy trees (and I don't know of any 'un-messy' varieties), the pickup before mowing is just part of the process - like picking up dog poop.

If you're going to be there a while, I would advise getting a high-quality mower with a mulching blade - a lawn looks much better without grass clumps laying around on either side of the wheel tracks. Other than that - fertilize and weed every spring and late-summer, keep it watered, and perform good basic maintenance on your mower every spring - new blade (or sharpen), replace air and oil filters, and get a new sparkplug. Also, as someone mentioned, alternate direction of cut to minimize wheel ruts. especially on soft soils.
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Old 04-20-2003, 02:11 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Buy a mulcher mower. It not only cuts the grass, it mulches it (and everything else) so you don't have to rake it.
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Old 04-20-2003, 07:53 PM   #10 (permalink)
Location: An Obsolete Warship in The Baltic
in my experience, it seems like less work to mow in a inward-spiralling pattern of concentric squares.

then again, i'm a huge dork.
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Old 04-21-2003, 07:31 AM   #11 (permalink)
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After you cut your lawn the first time, get the blade resharped and balanced. Another thing that you could do is rent a powered dethacher, or purchase a hand one depending on you lawn size. This will pull up all the dead grass, leaves, sticks, rodent carcasses, and dead bodies that have work themselves deep into the grass. Doing this should help the lawn breath and give the grass (and weeds if your lawn was as poorly maintained as mine was) room to grow.

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Old 04-21-2003, 07:43 AM   #12 (permalink)
zaiaz's Avatar
Location: State of confusion...wait that's medication.
Hey here's an idea...if you have kids get them to pick up trash and non lawn stuff in the yard. Then when they think they are through, make'em mow. It works for me. Oh yea, watch out for the "how much you gonna pay me" routine.
Self destruction - "Its my Nature", said the Scorpion...
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Old 04-21-2003, 08:18 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Location: the 'Ville
definitely rake it out, and before you mow it, get your blade sharpened. A sharp blade will do more good than anything else you can do when mowing. And make sure you get some weed killer for the yard. Then fertilize when you have a good stand of grass.
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Old 04-21-2003, 08:39 AM   #14 (permalink)
I use a ridon mower at top speed at all times. Anything that gets in the way (dog bones, sticks, kids toys...) just get shredded.
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Old 04-21-2003, 12:31 PM   #15 (permalink)

Last edited by boatguy234; 11-09-2009 at 09:00 AM..
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Old 04-24-2003, 02:58 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Location: The Great White North
Unplug your yard, put it in a box and send to your realtor.... you are too dumb to have a yard. Either that or purchase a "manual" rake....
If you're wringing your hands you can't roll up your shirt sleeves.

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Old 04-25-2003, 04:37 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Location: Orstraylia
HMMMM interesting thread.
My first suggestion was gonna be " Hire a lawnmower man that takes away the cuttings". But then since the wife has always mown our lawns I can no longer say that.
"And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking.
Racing around to come up behind you again. The sun is the same in a relative way but your older, shorter of breath, and one day closer to death" ...pink floyd
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Old 04-28-2003, 10:40 AM   #18 (permalink)
As mentioned above, if posssible, do the dethatcher also. After it clears all the crap from down between the blades of grass, the lawn does start to look better. All the yellow dead stuff is gone and I see more of the green.

However, I am used to seeing this in the cool summer of WI, not TX. Don't know how the change in dryness/sun will affect your lawn.
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Old 05-05-2003, 05:58 AM   #19 (permalink)
Location: Sydney, Australia
There's no way in hell I'd ever rake up clippings - two stroke engine, rotary blade, rigid plastic grasscatcher, the whole bit.

If you can find them in the US, get yourself an aussie icon:

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Old 05-07-2003, 05:36 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Location: Cumming, GA
Pretty good advice all around here. One thing I might recommend, is paying for a weed/fertilizer service for a year or two just to get everything growing right.
I was in the same situation as you 3 years ago, and tried myself the first year to get things "under control". By the end of the first year there was maybe a 10% change for the better.
Then the wife got a weed/fertilizer service the second year. Now two years later my lawn is one of the best in the neighborhood.
#### OH YEAH #### Don't cut the lawn too long or too short. Check with the fertilizer service technician, they can tell you exactly the type of grass you have and the length it should be cut to.
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Old 05-08-2003, 02:47 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Come on you needed to ask a question about lawn work. A man instictively knows these things. Mowing is a fundamental part of his being, his matra should include Grass is Good! As for the rest I couldn't tell you.
I've got plenty of common sense. I just choose to ignore it. ...Calvin
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Old 05-23-2003, 08:00 PM   #22 (permalink)
Location: Ilium
All the advice above is pretty sound. Rake first, mow later. Go with the lawn service and keep it watered. After about a year it should look like you know what you are doing.
"So it goes."
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Old 05-27-2003, 07:09 PM   #23 (permalink)
I can't say I agree with the lawn service suggestion. They don't put anything on the lawn that you can't get from home depot for half the cost. If the lawn is over grown with weeds, you'll have to resign yourself to one year of it looking half dead as you kill off the weeds. Rake it, then mow it. Then get a thatching rake and get ready to have a sore back! Once you are done with the thatching you can start on scotts annual lawn care program. Give two months between treatments starting with step one. Seed in the fall and then start with scotts again in the spring. With adequate watering your lawn will look like a golf green by the end of next summer.
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Old 05-30-2003, 03:10 PM   #24 (permalink)
All pretty good advice so far. Definately walk through the yard quickly before mowing every time and pick up any newly fallen branches or trash. I would rake that yard a few times, just to get all of the dead grass up and moving the grass will stimulate it. You may want to put down some fertilizer and/or grass seed. But that is only if you will be in that house for a while. If the yard was badly neglected it may take a few applications. Just go down to your local nursery for more information on that.

Now, for the actual mowing part. Don't let the grass get exceedingly tall. It would be a good idea to purchase a mulching mower, those machines are great. Having cut grass lie on the yard is a good thing, in moderation. The cut grass will decompose and provide nutrients for the other grass. However, you can't have large clumps as this will only hurt the remaining grass under it. So a mulching mower will help a lot. If the grass is too tall my suggestion would be to mow it twice. Set the mower deck a couple of notches higher the first cut and then set it back down the second time. This will prevent the grass clippings from being too long and clumping too much. I would do this regardless of the type of mower (Mulching or not).

Also, never mow the yard the same way twice in a row. Mowing in circles or even squares is okay, however, it won't stimulate hte grass as well, and I don't think that it looks as good as a yard cut in nice and straight lines. So if you mow the yard horizontally one time, mow it vertically the next. After that go on a diagnal and next time mow on the opposite diagnal.

If you take care of the yard properly you can have a very nice looking yard fairly easily. But then: What do I know. I only own and operate a professional lawn care company after all!

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Old 05-31-2003, 11:04 AM   #25 (permalink)
Location: Wisconsin, USA
Mulching mowers can be a benefit. BUT, only if it's used right, and most people aren't willing to do this. You can cut a max of 1" off of the grass with a mulching mower if you want it to work properly. As you go past this, you have to first go slower, and finaly you'll have clumping and clogging.

The only solution is to mow twice a week or more depending on your lawn. This also means twice the wear and tear on your mower, so it's actually cutting the usable life of your mower in half.

Meanwhile, if you don't let the grass get out of hand, you can use a regular mower, and just don't collect the clippings. Now sometimes the grass just grows too damn fast and I'll have some clippings start to collect on the lawn, and I'll just go back with a lawn sweeper and collect it in those spots, but this doesn't happen too often, and I don't have to worry about making two or more passes to get the lawn cut. A good thing when you have 3 acres.
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Old 05-31-2003, 12:10 PM   #26 (permalink)
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The last two responses are excellant, in addition to several before them. I never mow the yard in the same direction as the last time I mowed it. Otherwise your mower wheels will begine to leave ruts in your yard. Grass loves cool and moist weather. That's when it grows the best. Which happens to define this spring's weather. So I've been mowing every third or fourth day. Otherwise the heavy wet grass is too tall to mow easily. As the temps increase and the rain decreases I'll decrease the frequency. When its hot, watch the weather reports to see if you are going to be mowing before a hot dry spell. If so, maybe you should wait until that is over. I also keep the grass rather tall. I mow at the next to highest setting on the mower. The best thing about this is that the grass chokes out weeds. I use Weed-B-Gone in a hand sprayer to zap weeds when they show up early in the spring but seldom beyond that once the grass gets thicker. Before we bought this house the previous owners used a lawn service. Now I only fertilize early in the spring and in the fall. By using a mulching mower, much of the lawn's nutrients are returned to the soil each time you mow. If you want to bag it, at least compost the clippings.
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lawn, mow, properly

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