Dreaming of a lush, green lawn this summer? Well, it’ll stay that way – a dream – unless you make sure your lawn mower blade is sharp and ready to rock and roll, before you wheel your lawn mower out onto the grass. Most people don’t realize the importance of keeping lawn mower blades sharp until it’s too late and the damage is already done. And it’s not something that has an instant fix either. Well not unless you’re willing to rip your whole lawn up and lay some new turf down right away!
What Happens If You Use a Lawn Mower with a Dull Blade
When a mower’s blade is nice and sharp, the cut it produces is very clean; rather like a pair of scissors slicing through a sheet of paper. But when the blade is worn and dull, it’s akin to you tearing that same sheet of paper with your hands. The result? Grass that has frayed, torn ends. And here are just a few of the likely consequences:
- Severe Lawn Discoloration (Typically Brown) – The torn, mangled ends you’ll see on your grass if you look closely after using a dull blade, lead to a loss of moisture. This moisture is wicked away or evaporated directly from the grass blade, causing it to dry up and become “dehydrated” which is what causes those ugly brown patches to start popping up all over your lawn.
- Significant Risk of Lawn Diseases – Dull blades leave open wounds on the grass blades – rather like an old razor blade leaving cuts on your skin after a shave – which gives disease spores a direct entry point. And there are a whole host of lawn diseases that grass could fall victim to, with fungal diseases being the biggest danger. Some common fungal lawn diseases include Leaf Spot (Helminthosproium), Dollar Spot (Sclerotinia Homeocarpa) and Leaf Blight.
- Aesthetically It Sucks – While it might not be as severe a consequence as some of the other points we’ve raised on this list, the simple fact is that your lawn just won’t look good. When you’ve got thousands and thousands of grass blades with frayed ends making up your lawn, it’s unattractive. And it won’t matter how good your fertilizer is, as it’s not going to repair the damage done by a dull blade.
- Less Resistant to Heat, Drought and Pests – A lawn that isn’t in the best health is also at greater risk of problems with pests, and will be less able to cope with extreme weather conditions such as heatwaves and droughts.
And the Consequences Aren’t Limited to Your Lawn Either: Your Lawn Mower Suffers Too!
Yep, you heard right. Not only will the health and appearance of your lawn be affected, but you’ll be doing harm to your mower as well. Here’s how:
- More Strain on Mower Components – When a mower’s blade is sharp, it slices right through the grass it encounters as you’re pushing it the mower along. However, when the blade is dull, the individual grass blades actually wrap themselves around the blade momentarily, before the momentum causes the top of the grass blade to be ripped off. This puts significantly more strain on the mower itself, and over time will shorten its usable lifespan. So in the long run you’ll either find yourself paying out more for repairs, or buying a replacement mower much sooner than you anticipated.
- You’ll Use More Energy Too – That extra strain we just mentioned has another unwanted impact; you’ll need to use more energy than you would if the blade were as sharp as it should be. So if you’re mowing with a gas mower, you’ll go through more gas, and if you’re using an electric mower, you’ll use more electric. And with cordless electric models, this extra strain will have a significant impact upon the runtime you’re able to get out of each charge too. So more charging, more waiting around…you get the picture.
Best Practices: Keep Your Lawn Mower Blades Sharp
Hopefully by this point we’ve opened your eyes and made you realize that neglecting your blade can start a chain reaction that’s less than desirable. But the good news is that it’s actually pretty straightforward to prevent all of this and keep your lawn healthy and green. Here are a few best practices we’d recommend you follow:
- Clear Your Lawn of Debris Before You Start – One of the most common ways that blades quickly become blunted is by hitting stones and other types of hard debris that is left on the lawn. So one quick and easy solution you can implement right away to keep your blades sharper for longer, is to do a quick spot-check of the lawn before you start. Remove any debris that you come across.
- Inspect Your Blade and Sharpen It When Needed – It’s hard to give you an exact figure with regards to how many times you should sharpen your blades during a season. Some people may need to sharpen as many as 4 or 5 times, while for others 2 times may suffice. That’s because it’s really the number of hours that you are out mowing that matter, along with the how rough you are on the blade (are you frequently mowing through difficult conditions and going over lots of debris?). They key is to keep an eye on the blade’s condition. Every 10 hours we’d recommend you turn the mower over and thoroughly inspect its condition. If you notice that it’s a little blunt, either take it to a professional or sharpen it yourself at home if you have the necessary equipment.
So you see, taking the attitude that “a blade, is a blade, is a blade” is not the right way to look at things. There’s a BIG difference between a sharp blade and a dull blade. Your lawn knows it; do you?