Thrifty Gardening Tips: Save Gas, Only Mow Where You Go

Here is Part 3 in The Home Garden's series of posts about how to garden on a budget.

One thing that drives me crazy about lawn mowing is when I see someone mowing their grass when it doesn't need it. Imagine the scene: it hasn't rained in two weeks, the grass hasn't grown a centimeter, and someone is out riding in circles on their lawnmower cutting that centimeter of grass more out of habit than any real need. In addition I often see people mow dirt, yes dirt! Rather than make a turn to avoid the area they just plow over it spewing up dust clouds underneath the whiling blades of the mower. These practices are both bad for your yard and wasteful. Here are some guidelines that I try to follow when mowing my lawn that may save a little money on gas.

  1. I try to only mow where we go. What's the point in mowing an area you never use? If it's just to make it look clean and manicured consider investing in a new flower garden. You not only create an area that is nice to look at but you don't waste gas to run your mower! Even if you don't want to spend the time or resources to make a new garden bed consider planting wildflowers that will naturalize.
  2. Don't mow dirt. As I mentioned a minute ago some people do this. Maybe it's easier for them to mow in a pattern every time they mow. It's not a big deal for a small patch of dirt but for large areas that may be underneath trees or on slopes consider planting a groundcover that will do well in those locations. Just avoid mowing over it, knocking down a few weeds just isn't worth using up gas on a patch of dirt.
  3. You don't always have to mow everything every time. I find that my lawn grows at different rates due to the different varieties of grasses and weeds that live in it. If there is a spot that needs mowed I'll mow that area rather than do the whole yard which may not need it.
  4. Don't mow when it hasn't rained! If your grass isn't growing mowing out of habit won't do any good. All it will do is waste your gas and consequently waste your money. Besides letting your grass grow longer is better during the hot months for cool season grasses. High grass keeps the roots from drying out as quickly and it typically has deeper roots.
  5. Consider human powered tools. Since my push mower caught on fire I've been thinking about my next mower. Both the electric mowers and reel mowers are something I'm considering in the future, if you have any experiences good or bad with these let me know!
For more Thrifty Gardening Tips take a look at these posts:

Thrifty Gardening Tips Part 1: Buying and Saving Discount Discount Plants
Thrifty Gardening Tips Part 1 Follow Up: Buying and Saving Discount Plants
Thrifty Gardening Tips Part 2: The Generosity of Gardeners

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