Proper way to mow

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I have about two acres and a 48 inch cut Craftsman lawn mower. Every time I mow I leave tons of grass clippings. I cut it very short I think. I only have time to mow once a week.
What is the proper "technique" for mowing? I think part of my problem is that I usually mow "clockwise" and probably should be mowing so I blow the clippings where I have just mowed. The reason I dont do this is it will blow clippings on my driveway/sidewalk/mulch. ANy help would be appreciated! No one ever showed me the proper way to mow.
By the way I bought some blades that say mulching/discharge blades from Sears for this mower. Should I make a plate to block the clippings from being "shot" out? So the mulching blades will chop them up finer? Any help is appreciated!
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Don wrote:

Mowing 'longer' will reduce the amount of re-growth in a week. Are you being liberal with the use of fertilizer or water? Execessive use of nitrogen will result an 'emerald' green lawn and lots of growth. To maintain a 'formal' lawn in this way requires mowing at *least* every three days. Blocking the discharge will result in choking the whole show = bigger mess! Vac cleaning systems are expensive, maintenance intensive and a general PITA. The way I see it, to keep the clippings light enough to eliminate the need to 'rake' you have two choices. Mow more frequently or starve the lawn. Ken.
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On Wed, 14 Apr 2004 10:03:24 -0600, "Ken Davey"

1) Set the height of cut at 2.5 to 3 inches. 2) Run the engine at full throttle. 3) Use a slow speed- first or second gear only. 4) Cut no more than a 36" swath AT THE MOST! Yes, the deck is 48" wide, but most garden tractor decks are not able to make a full width cut. They clog. 5) Mow in a pattern such that you are not going through the fresh clippings- they will severely overload the decks' cutting ability. 6) With two acres of land, any 48" garden tractor is too small. You need to move up to a 62" zero turn mower or a used 72" commercial out-front deck machine.
-Carl "An honest man doesn't need a long memory"- Jesse Ventura
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or, get two used engine driven push mowers and tow them behind the rideon, one each side, or both one side, so you mow a wider swatch. make sure they are the type with a grass box, and leave the box off so the clippings go out the back.
yes, you may have trouble in turns or the fiddly bits, but the majority will be much quicker
sure to be a lot cheaper than a new rideon, but you sure have a lot of grass there. considered leaving some of it long? I have an area of my yard that is hard to mow (steep slope), so I don't, it is just about a foot high and stays about that. no sweat. and the dogs prefer to shit there rather than the short grass (-:
swarf, steam and wind
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I can't speak for Craftsman, but my John Deere has a block when using the mulching blade. Keeps cuttings under the deck so they can get chopped up into smaller pieces.
Don't mow too short. If you keep the grass longer, say 2 1/2 to 3", it will be healthier, less weed, easier to care for. Ed
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Proper? Any technique that makes the grass shorter in the smallest amount of time I would call "proper."
I try to mow a different direction each time to avoid creating ruts with my mower - granted that would take a long time, but I've been mowing this yard for 25 years. I mow the perimeter clockwise, blowing the clippings "in", two or three times to give myself "turn" room. Then just straight lines back and forth. I also cut fairly high: the grass looks thicker, and helps to choke out weeds.
On the subject of mulching mowers: hate 'em. Hate the bastards. If the grass if at all high they clog, and always make a mess in the garage when they're put up. Either collect or discharge the clippings, and forget the guilt.
- Wm
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and pay for the fertilizer and water your lawn will now use more of. the mulch fertilizes the lawn the mulch retains water for you. I live in an arid climate and water is expensive. your milage may vary
swarf, steam and wind
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Don wrote:

Clippings on the driveway/sidewalk will dry up and blow away. Clippings in the mulch may be caught and not blow away, but they will turn brown and blend in. Either way, it becomes a non-issue eventually.
Don't cut the grass too short: it will burn in the dry season. Longer grass will withstand drought better. It also shades out weeds better.
Mulching mowers need to be used fairly frequently so that the clippings are short and will fall into the grass. Longer clippings (more volume of grass being cut) will clump up and leave clods of grass on the lawn.
If you have two acres, do you use it all? How about cutting a quarter or half acre as a lawn and haying the rest? Then you only have to cut that part twice a year.
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If he has two acres he could make a beautiful natural area with all kinds of native plants and trees.
Just because the area is natural does not mean that it requires no maintenance. Just different.
There have been several times in my life when I have had a half acre or more. This is the first time that it has all been in yard, and we are working on that. Lots of flower beds, etc.
Dwight Sipler wrote:

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I'm fascinated with this idea but don't know how to apply it practically. We own 9 acres that are mostly pasture and some dense tree areas. In the pasture areas there are sporadic trees that are 1'-2' high that we planted in the past 2-3 years, in other areas plenty of Sweetgums and Cedars, and a few Oaks coming up (I live in Mississippi). I was just letting most of the land "go" with trails through it all, and a regular lawn area close to the house.
It looked kind of strange having a lawn that ended abruptly turning into a 5' high weedy area. Mostly it was turning to blackberry and thorny vines, and then eventually honeysuckle that strangled everything. I can show you honeysuckle vines I saved that were 2" in diameter that literally cut oak saplings in half. There was also a tremendous fire danger in the fall and winter when all the sedge (sage?) grass turned dry. Not knowing what else to do, last month I went full bore and bush-hogged everything except for the trees which I flagged beforehand. It looks ok now, but I dread the idea of doing that all summer; that was a bear to cut through.
Without buying goats or cows, what other way is there to maintain such an area except for cutting it like 1 big ole yard? I'm all for reducing my mowing time.
-- Cheers! Duke
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Sheep or geese (geese are also handy for notification of visitors/robbers, per another thread). But I'm guessing you don't want livestock at all - though livestock are the best way to keep a meadow as a meadow.
Bush-hogging a few times a year will keep it somewhat under control - I'm guessing from what you said that you had left it for several years before your recent outing with the bush-hog, which does make the job more difficult. If you're essentially turning it into open forest with your tree plantings, the need to bush-hog might reduce somewhat as your trees grow. Killing off everything that grows there now and replanting densely with things which do well in your area (thus keeping down weed invasions) and stay low would be another option, but that's also work.
Up here a dense planting of clover works pretty well, though you still want to mow a few times to keep the taller weeds from making it. Controlled burns work well in some areas, but I can't say if they would work for your particular spot - probably not since you are trying to grow trees in it.
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Check out http://www.firewise.org/ -- good stuff on the website, even better stuff in the publications catalog, esp. the landscaping books and videos.
As far as "looking strange", consider a planned landscape with more formal lawn/garden areas near the house, transitioning to informal, (perhaps knee high grassy/wildflower areas with a few shrubs that can be burned or brushhogged once in awhile) transitioning to natural but maintained. A few paths carved into the natural areas help with maintenance and also with the visual transition. And plan in some firebreaks.
Kay Lancaster snipped-for-privacy@fern.com
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It depends on how much time you have, or stay with the property.
Several years ago we bought a new how that had most of the lot burned in a woods fire. There were some trees but many were fire damaged and had to be taken down.
The best way to plan your future woods survey the area, determine what has potential and what does not. Further prioritize those items as those that have immediate potential and those that should go immediately.
Each time you walk through the area trim with the priorities in mind encouraging what you want and trimming back what you don't. There will be a time when it looks like and uncared for area but over a few years you will start seeing your plan grow into place
Dukester wrote:

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Dukester wrote:

Fire, flood, livestock, poison, or mow.
Boils down to those.
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you could also pave over it with asphalt, mulch or flowers
alternatively you could possibly genetically engineer leaf cutter ants for lawn control purposes
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You could turn it into a small offroad track for go karts or atv's.
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Salty Thumb wrote:

That'll work.

Normal mulch won't bury the trees, though nutrient depletion (nitrogen) might count as "poison".

Mow to establish, anyhow.

Oh, that's "livestock".
Kudzu might work <G>.
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snipped-for-privacy@scnresearch.com>:

fire will make it grow FASTER when it comes back up
swarf, steam and wind
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DejaVU wrote:

Depends on the plants, the season, and how hot the fire is.
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On 14 Apr 2004 08:19:50 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Don) wrote:

Every grass variety has an optimum cutting height, so I can't just reel off a number. But whatever grass variety you have, choose a cutting height at the top of the range for that grass. This will make the grass more drought resistant, reduce the need for fertilizer, chokes out weeds, etc.
Cutting taller will also reduce the cutting frequency required since a grass that isn't overcut won't have to grow as fast to get enough green blade area in sunlight to survive. Don't over-fertilize and don't over-water. Both will cause excessively rapid growth, and will promote poor root systems.

To convert a regular deck to a mulching deck, you have to block the discharge chute. An old license plate will do if you don't have the proper block off plate. Note that if the deck isn't designed to be used as a mulcher, there may be some clogging problems, but it is worth a shot. Every pound of grass clippings you remove from the lawn requires you to replace those nutrients in another way.
Gary
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