Common Summer Mowing Mistakes

Posted August 1, 2014 by 2 Comments

It’s the dog days of summer and your grass isn’t doing so hot.

Is your grass dry, patchy or not growing? Check out these common summer mowing mistakes that could easily happen to you.

1.) Ignoring The 1/3 Rule

One of the biggest mistakes in summer lawn care is cutting your grass too low. As a general rule you should not cut more than 1/3 of the grass blade off while mowing.

Along with this rule, grass should not be cut below 3 inches during the hot months of summer. The taller blades provide shade for the soil allowing it to soak in, retain moisture, and stay healthy!

2.) Dehydration

Need a quick refreshment on a hot day? Well, so does your lawn! Most types of grass will benefit from having at least one inch of water per week, including precipitation.

The best time to water grass is in the morning, this gives the soil time to retain the moisture before the sun rises and evaporates it.

3.) Your Lawn is Smoking

No, you’re lawn isn’t literally on fire! However, chemical fertilizers can chemically burn your lawn by drying it out in the summer heat. If you must fertilize your grass, try to choose an organic fertilizer that works slowly and has less of a risk of burning your lawn.

4.) Mowing Wet Grass

Rain came pouring down and now your lawn is soaked. Should you or shouldn’t you mow? Mowing your grass when it’s wet is not a good idea because the blade has to work extra hard to maintain cutting speed, so the quality of cut is affected.

Also, wet grass has clumping tendencies that will affect the mowers ability to mulch, and chop up your grass into finer clippings, leaving thick clumps of grass in your lawn or stuck inside the mower deck.

5.) Dull Mower Blades

Ever see white tips on grass after mowing? Before you dump a lot of water or fertilizer on your lawn, check your mower blades! Dull blades can tear at the grass blade, not leaving a clean cut as a well-sharpened blade would. Torn or ripped blades are more prone to disease and insect damage which can cause problems later on.

Sharpen your mower blades at the beginning of every season and check them periodically throughout the mowing season. Check out our DIY article and learn how to change your mower blades.

Learn from these common summer lawn mistakes, so come fall, your lawn should be looking lush and healthy again.


  1. daivd
    on August 14, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    is there a place that I can take the blade to get sharpen? and ruffly what would the cost be just a ball park figure

    Reply to this Comment

    • John Walsh
      on September 18, 2014 at 2:32 pm

      David, You can do this yourself with either a small grinder or a medium file. Just be careful when you remove blade. Remove spark plug wire so mower can’t start as you turn blade. Modern mowers won’t start if safety handle is released, but why take a chance? Make note of the direction of the “wings” that act to vacuum grass blades upward before cutting. There is definitely an up and a down side to the blade. A few strokes with a file will sharpen it(try to mimic the original angle). Hanging blade from a nail driven into a vertical stud in the garage will give an approximation of blade’s balance or imbalance. Hold blade horizontal, release it and see if one side consistently rotates downward. File a bit more on the side that drops, until blade remains horizontal when released. I like to use a small amount of grease or anti-seize on any bolts securing the blade, to ensure easy removal the next time I sharpen the blade. Good luck and you can do it!

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