With the intensity that some people maintain their lawns, it may seem like you’re constantly in an informal competition with all of your neighbors for the best-looking lawn. If you’re simply trying to keep your yard healthy and not looking like a field of wildflowers, all you need are some tips that keep your lawn short and sweet.

Don’t give your lawn a buzzcut

The best mowers follow a one-third rule when it comes to grass cutting. Don’t remove more than one-third of the grass blade length at one time. If your lawn is healthy it can survive the occasional close cut, but consistently cutting it too short will turn your grass brown. A close cut kills the grass, increasing the sunlight that reaches weed seeds and effectively replacing your lush green grass with a weed infestation. Close-cut mowing can also make your lawn vulnerable to pests and disease, risk soil compaction, and injure the crown of your lawn, which is where new growth generates and nutrients are stored.

Mow at the right time

When you lead a busy life, creating a regular schedule of mowing can help you keep up without overdoing it. In Alabama, about 80% of peoplemow their lawns weekly or biweekly. The climate and weather of your area will also determine how often you need to mow. Warm, wet weather will accelerate lawn growth and call for more regular mowing. In more arid weather, or when your area is facing a drought, you will not need to mow very often. In fact, mowing often will lead to the same dangers as cutting your lawn too short. It’s best to mow early in the day, after the dew dries. Just be sure to not mow when the grass is wet, as soggy clippings can clog your mower and you risk slipping on the wet lawn.

Keep your mower in good condition

Once you’ve determined the right time to mow, make sure that your mower is in the right condition to do so. Check the blade area for any obstructions, especially if you just purchased the mower. If your mower is more than a year old, you may need to sharpen the blades. When you mow your lawn with dull blades, it can turn out looked ragged. Even if your mower is brand new, check to see if the blades are sharp enough, as many mowers are sold with duller blades. You can sharpen the blades on your own, but if you’re hesitant about being so close to razor-sharp blades many local hardware stores offer the service.

Mowing your lawn is not an exact science, and oftentimes the best rule of thumb is to let the length and quality of your grass determine if you need to tend to it. Don’t overthink the process, and you will have a lush, green yard in no time.