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Never Cut more than 1/3 of grass blade
Adjust cutting height according to conditions
Dollar spot fungus due to improper cutting
Mow at 2.5" for your last cut of season
One of the biggest issues most homeowners have is the height of which they cut the lawn at. According to the U of M lawns should be cut at different heights depending on the conditions. Correct mowing height if pivotal to your turf. You never want to cut off more than 1/3 of the grass blade at once. Make sure your tires are inflated to correct levels. This is often the biggest cause of a deck that is not level.
Spring Clean-up (2.5 inches): Because you should have already cut your grass short last fall it will still be short in the spring. Get out on your lawn once the snow has melted and the yard is dry but before it comes out of dormancy. You will not be cutting your grass but rather using your mower deck to "vacuum" debris out of it. This is the best time to dethatch your lawn as well, you can read about this in the "Dethatching your yard" section below.
Spring and Early summer (3 inches) After you yard comes out of dormancy you will want to cut your yard at 3" This is the optimal length when temps are not hot and humid like they may be in dead of summer. Grass roots grow to the depth of the grass blade. 3" is the correct height to create a
Summer (3.5-4 inches) Raising your deck before the ravages of summer will promote the root structure to grow deeper and store more nutrients. Your grass will need this for when temps rise and rain is not as frequent.
Late Summer/Fall (3 inches) Once the heat of summer has subsided it is time to lower your deck to the 3 inch level again. This will help in keeping down fungus in your yard.
Fall Clean-up (2.5 inches) Your fall clean-up should be the last time you need to mow your yard. Typically the grass has stopped growing and you will be taking off the last half inch one last time prior to winter. A shorter lawn helps keep snow mold from forming.
Raise your deck to appropriate height for conditions.
High Lift Blade
X blades with both high lift and Mulching blades
If mowing is the backbone of lawn care then your mower's blades are the heart of the operation. They are the thing that does all the work. The health of your blades are often overlooked, but, just like the oil should be checked on a regular basis.
What are they?
Every mower will have different blades and vary in size and shape. However, there are two types of blades every mower should have an option to run.
The first is a high lift blade. This blade will have a solid rear tip with a gap to allow airflow. High lift blades will create more suction under your deck to lift grass blades prior to cutting. These blades also discharge further. Run these blade through the majority of the season.
The second is a mulching blade. Mulching blades are the same design as a high lift but have slits on the rear rather than solid. This is to allow debris to pass though while breaking it up in the process. Run these blades in spring and fall to mulch up leaves.
Liberty will run both high lift and mulching at the same time in the fall to give you the same quality of cut but at the same time achieving a mulching action. We do not recommend this as it can be hard on non commercial equipment.
Sharpening your blades
Sharpening while maintaining factory pitch using a guide
Cut grass blade Vs. torn blade
White tips due to dull mower blades
Sharpening your blades can seem like a daunting task. But it does not have to be. Take care of your blades and they will last you years.
Important: Make sure your mower is in the off position and blades are not under any load before any service can begin.
When to do it
As a homeowner you should check your blades every spring and every approx. 8hrs after initial check. Check your blades if you accidently run over rocks and sticks, these can damage your blade causing you to need to replace them. Seasons will also have an affect on how long you can go between sharpening. Lush long grass is tougher to cut and coupled with cutting the clipped grass again as it is discharged will drastically reduce the time between service.
What to do
Raise your deck to a position and secure it so you can reach the underside of it. Remove the blade(s) and bring them to your work station. Lay the blade on a flat surface to ensure the blade is still flat and no bends are present. If bent, replace with a new blade. With a grinder carefully grind away at the cutting edge making sure to leave the factory pitch the same all the way through the cutting edge. Take note on roughly how much material you have removed. You will need to remove roughly the same on the other side to keep the blade in "balance". Once both sides of the blade have been sharpened put the blade on a nail in the wall to ensure both sides weigh approx. the same. Large nicks in the blade do not need to be ground out as long as 95% of the blade is still shapeable, any less and you will want to replace the blade. Put your sharpened blade back on the mower using a torque wrench and tighten to specs in your owners manual.
Signs you have dull blades
When you have dull blades it will tear the grass rather than cut it. Not only is it unsightly but it invites disease. You may also be "mowhawking" where you are leaving a strip of uncut grass or leaving stragglers.
Hand raking thatch
Core sample of proper amount of thatch
Spring is the best time to remove thatch from your yard and prepare it for the season as well as cleaning up any leftover leaves. This should be done prior to your lawn coming out of dormancy but before it has started to grow.
What is it?
Thatch is a thin layer of dead grass that is in the process of breaking down to create much needed nutrients in your soil. There is a fine line in too much thatch and not enough.
Many people think that by dethatching your yard you are actually removing all thatch. This is not true and that practice can actually be detrimental to your yard. A healthy layer will hold moisture in while preventing unwanted seeds from contacting soil where it can grow.
Conversely too much thatch will have a greenhouse effect. Decomposition creates heat. It will smother out your grass and not allow your yard to breath.
In spring and fall when your yard is growing rapidly mow multiple times a week or several times at once to mulch the clippings to aid in decomposition. You can also bag or rake the excess clippings and dispose of them off site.
Gently rake your yard to bring thatch to the surface. You do not need to rake excessive amounts. Dispose of loose debris off site. If you are renting a power unit set your tines to clear just above the soil.