Should Lawns Be Mowed Diagonally?

You know you’re a redneck if you need to mow the lawn to find where you left the wheelbarrow. On the opposite end of the spectrum are homeowners who fawn over their lawn, primping and coddling every grass blade into perfection. Discovering a weed causes a panic attack until all-out war snuffs out the invader.

More likely than not, fastidious lawn owners mow their turf diagonally. Why, we might ask? Are there volumes of research proving that mowing a  lawn on the diagonal promotes a lush, emerald green turf?

Well, mowing does tend to cause grass to lay and develop a “grain” (as in woodgrain) in the direction of mowing. If mowed in the same direction continually, the grain can become noticeable. Whether or not it affects the health of the lawn is unproven.

But to prevent turf from developing a one-way grain, it’s recommended by research universities that the direction be alternated with each mowing. Must it be diagonally? No. Alternating in a back-and-forth, up-and-down, square checkerboard pattern accomplishes the same. 

You know what I think? Mowing diagonally has become a fun trend, and is a bit of a status symbol. If the neighbor is mowing diagonally, I better also, because that looks like the thing to do. It’s like hanging out a sign that reads “Look, my lawn is well-maintained because it’s cut on the diagonal.” Mowing back-and-forth is so last century.

So, whether you’re a diagonal mower, or back-and-forth crisscross, either will work, and the smell of new-mown grass is still as pleasant. 

Happy Gardening!


1 Response

  1. Katherine Tweed

    I am not going to be able to share this with my husband. I like the diagonal, he does not. Phooey

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