Scalping the Lawn and Beating the Bushes

I made the big mistake of fertilizing the back lawn this spring.

And nature being what it is, the fertilizer is doing a bang up job and I have had to mow the lawn at least once a week. Lawn care is not my favorite thing. Especially when the grass is growing like crazy. Last week in my eagerness to simplify the process, I decided to change the level of the mower to the second stop up… which cuts the blades of green to a crisp 1″ length. Perfecto. Except the first push through the high grass made it look as if I had scalped the lawn. My sister was appalled. However, after zipping around the front lawn cutting up the weeds I returned to the thick blanket of 3″ grass growing in the square behind the house.

Now, before going further, I must explain that we have had quite a lot of rain these last few days here in the northeast, and although the sun was shining, the blades of tall grass were still a bit moist down deep near the ground. Also, one more thingβ€” I am pushing a gas mower that has to be started by me bracing my foot against one of the back wheels and yanking the pull cord as hard as I can. It usually starts after 5 or 6 pulls, but by that time I am exhausted and sweating like a pig. The last thing I want to do is stop mowing before the job is done. I know I’ll have a heck of a time getting the $%!@ mower started again.

I never knew a lawn mower could be so fussy. Sure enough, the tall grass was too tall for the low setting on the mower and after five or six back and forths, the $%^@# mower stalled out, grass caught up around the blade. I used a long stick to clean it out. And tried to restart the mower. Stubborn thing just wouldn’t go. Too hot I guess. You’d think a warm motor would want to just kick right in. But no. Not this one. Had to wait 30 minutes and try again. One, two, three yanks. Nothing. Four, five, six… nothing. Wait another 30 minutes. Finally after waiting a full hour, on the third yank the motor kicked over and I was in business again. Thats when it started to drizzle and that was that. Grass clogged, mower stalled. I had had it.

Now the back lawn has a most peculiar look to it. Most of it shaved to 1″ of its life, the rest is now nearing 4″. What fun. I think I’ll have to do it with the weed wacker.

But hark!!! Summer visitors are due to arrive this very Tuesday. And among them, a tall, strapping nearly 15 year old, eager for a chance to show he loves his dear aunt. Right?

Hooray! I am rescued from the lawn. Yes?

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Salander
Salander
10 years ago

I have just the thing that will work like a charm for you…buy a can of engine starter spray (any automotive store will have it.) Spray the mesh covering over the carburator (sp?) and it will start on the first or second pull. I have a mower JUST LIKE YOURS! Good luck.

CDeering
CDeering
Reply to  Salander
10 years ago

Ok… engine starter spray… what does it actually do? Get rid of loose gunk?

Daffyhill
Daffyhill
10 years ago

There is just no making you happy….you want a lawn…now the lawn is too good for you…really, get a grip…on that mower!!! Grass should not be scalped. By being a bit longer and being trimmed down no more that 1/2 inch each mowing, the grass shades out the weed seeds and conserves wate rand it looks much nicer. Chances are it won’t burn as quickly in the heat. Yes, you have to mow more often to take off so little each time. You don’t go to the gym…..so consider it exercise! When all is said and done you can sit back on your deck and look at your lovely job well done.

Summer Daze
Summer Daze
10 years ago

Nearly 15 year old spent this afternoon weed whacking for hours on a steep hill. He’s looking forward to his vacation on CapeCod. Perhaps wait a day or so after we arrive to propose the mowing.

CDeering
CDeering
Reply to  Summer Daze
10 years ago

Glad the child has had such good practice whacking about. There’s a lot of whacking still to be done… though the suggestions i just received in these comments encourage me to get out there later today and try my luck just one more time. Will try the Pam on the blades first… πŸ™‚ Want everything looking pretteeeee.

Green blade
Green blade
10 years ago

And if you lightly spray the blades with Pam (the cooking kind), the grass won’t stick πŸ™‚

CDeering
CDeering
Reply to  Green blade
10 years ago

Thank you Green Blade. I shall try that. Still have a can of Pam I use on sticky muffin tins. Will test it out this afternoon, provided it doesn’t rain.

midge
midge
10 years ago

what a joy to be past mowing lawns-in a condo requiring NO yard work. think about it.!! in the meantime—get lots of snacks to bribe 15 yr.old.

Chap
Chap
Reply to  midge
10 years ago

Thanks Midge. Excellent suggestion. The kid LOVES chocolate. I think I can rassle up some of that, big time. Keep him smiling the whole time he is whacking weeds. πŸ™‚