Why mow?

Mowing is like getting your hair cut. You don't have to, but you sure do look better once it's done. But it's not only for aesthetics, you also improve turf health and it helps to put pressure on weed growth.  Mowing is the component that converts your patch of grass into a lawn! 

Mowing FAQ's
How tall should I be mowing my lawn?
You will notice that every grass species has a recommended height of cut(HOC). This is by no means a guestimate. It is calculated based on each specific species' ability to thrive, whilst being aesthetically please and it takes into account that most people don't mow more than once a week. Mowing above or below these heights, mean that you will see some kind of negative impact. This may be in the form of an untidy lawn, or high maintenance. Mowing at the "correct" height also improves root and leaf development, so there are many reasons to mow at the recommended height of cut.  However,  this does not mean that you cannot bend the rules. 
For your convenience, these are my opinions based on my experience:
Kikuyu - 20-40mm (you can watch me maintain my Kikuyu lawn between 10-20mm comfortably, on YouTube!)
LM/Berea - 30-60mm  (you can watch me maintain my LM/Berea lawn between 20-40mm comfortably, on YouTube!)
Cynodon Dactylon(kweek/Bermudagrass) - 15-35mm 
Buffalo - 50-100mm
Tall fescue - 50-100mm
Dwarf Tall Fescue - 25-50mm
Perennial Ryegrass - 25-50mm
Kentucky Bluegrass - 25-50mm

What mower should I be using?
Choosing the correct mower directly correlates to your desired outcome, based on the specific grass type and your willingness to put in the extra effort. A good rule of thumb is, short/fine turf should be mowed with a cylinder mower and medium-tall turf is where a rotary mower is better suited. This being said, a good quality manual cylinder mower can be beneficial to certain taller species as well.
I've added a few mower types and what they might be used for, in the section below.

Do I have to mow every week?
Yes. If you don't, you simply create more problems for yourself.  A good rule of thumb is to never remove more than 1/3rd of the leaf with each mow. That means that you need to measure your lawn before each mow! Especially if you do not mow regularly. If you want a short lawn, you will need to mow more often. If you don't wish to mow often, it is advised to maintain a taller grass. Keep in mind that grasses like kikuyu get very 'leggy' when they grow tall, and this can be unsightly, feel ugly under foot, harbour pests and increase the likeliness of disease.  Mowing regularly saves you more hassle in future problems, than mowing itself!

Does mowing continually in the same direction cause issues?
Yes, but mostly for fine turf. For those who want to lay clean stripes, you will need to mow in the same direction often. Still try to reset at least once a month though.  You always want your turf reaching for the sky and not laying flat.

Can I mow when the grass is wet?
The short answer is yes. Although, mowing wet grass can exert extra stress on the mower and yourself. If your turf is not extremely short, you will end up with a poor quality cut. Many blades will be missed or ripped. The wet and open wound can quickly introduce disease. And grasses that are riddled with weeds and disease, can stick to your mower very easily. So, you end up carting weeds and disease across your whole yard. 

Types of mowers

Pedestrian Mowers

These are the normal residential mowers that a you walk behind.  They may also be called Walk-Behind mowers. Some you have to push and some have a transmission system that allows the engine to drive the wheels so that you don't have to push it. These are also called, Self-Propelled mowers. Below is a preview of some of these mowers. 

Rotary Mower

Rotary mowers are what most of you are used to seeing. They have a single, sometimes dual, blade system beneath the deck which rotates at high speed to cut the grass. This is a slashing action. Only the ends of the blades cut the grass.  I enjoy owning and enjoy using my rotary mower. It's cheap to repair, can plough through thick grass and doesn't mind hitting stones and other debris. As you can imagine, the circular shape of the spinning blade means that the blade has a very large cutting surface in both the x and y plane. In other words, it cuts equally as far from front to back, as it does from left to right.  This design leaves room for accidental scalping to occur. If one wheel dips into a hole, the blade tilts heavily and digs itself into the turf or soil, but simultaneously the opposing side of the blade lifts which then does not cut that section of grass properly.  

Cylinder/Reel Mower

Cylinder mowers, also called Reel mowers, are designed for the ultimate cut for fine/short turf. The 'cylinder/reel' spins only on the X axis and makes contact with a blade, called a bed-knife. This cutting action is much like a pair of scissors. With the cutting surface being so thin and only on one plane which is parallel to the ground, your chance of accidental scalping is practically zero. And in combination with the front and rear rollers, you are able to navigate all the contours of your yard with much less negative impact than a rotary mower. Ultimately this precision rolling accuracy and the perfect scissor-like cut, you can now mow much closer to the ground with practically no imperfections

Manual cylinder mowers

Manual, push-type cylinder mowers are powered by you as you push the mower forward. The wheels turn a system of gears that rotates cutting cylinder to perform the cut.  These mowers are 'usually' surprisingly good! They provide the premium cut of a full-size cylinder mower, but at a fraction of the price. The downside to these mowers is that you are powering them with your energy, they are usually lightweight so you may need to do multiple passes, and they often don't have replaceable parts. Although, the better quality units do. 

Ride-on Mowers

in progress...Ride-on mowers are as they sound. The operator physically sits or stands on the mower. These mowers are generally used in large areas where walking those distances is not possible. 

Ride-on, multi-reel mower

These mowers are highly advanced machines, featuring more than one cutting unit. These mowers operate on a highly advanced hydraulic system that provides operation from the individual reels to the 4-wheel drive system.  This type of mower is designed to bring the user, the same quality cut that you achieve with a cylinder/reel mower but with a much larger cutting width. These mowers do not host grass catchers as sheer weight of clippings that would be collected from the area, is simply too large and expensive to handle. These are often used on sports fields and golf-course fairways.   You would be surprised to see how many get used in residential applications!

Lawn Tractor

Lawn tractors are heavy-duty rotary mowers that you can ride on, instead of push or walk behind. They usually host wide cutting blades which means significantly shorter mowing times for large spaces. Many have the ability to tow items like sprayers or fertilizer spreaders. 

Zero-turn mower

These are also rotary mowers, but where you can either stand or sit on, and they have a '0' turning radius. This means that they are more suitable for spaces full of obstacles, and where a heavy-duty mower is needed with a wide deck.  This is quickly becoming the first choice for landscape businesses worldwide.

Whilst many different types of mowers such as flail or reciprocating knife mowers exist, the above units are more commonly found in use by both residential users and landscapers.  If you would like more information on mowers, please feel free to email me at