Mowing with Stripes

Striped Lawns

Everyone strives to have a well manicured lawn.  Many factors contribute to this status and appearance, but there is one that sometimes stumps homeowners, the freshly mowed lawn with stripes similar to a major league ball field or golf course.


What are stripes?

The appearance of striped lawns is a visual effect. This effect is created when the blades of grass lay a certain way and allow for the appearance of a checkerboard or diamond pattern. When the blades lay the direction not being faced, they appear light green. When the blades lay the direction faced, they appear a darker green. When done properly, this light to dark ratio allows for the appearance desired.

Common Misconceptions

There are many myths that contribute to the misconception of striped lawns.  Here are some things to keep in mind when considering whether or not to attempt the striped appearance.

  • Any mower can create a stripe however some machines will stripe better than others
  • A special fertilizer does not contribute to the stripe effect
  • Cutting the lawn at different heights will not create the desired stripe look
  • Stripes are not created by painting the lawn with different shades of green
  • The lawn does not have to be mixed species of grass to obtain the striped look
  • Rollers are not needed to have a striped lawn, although commercial companies may use them for highly public venues such as sporting events or golf courses.
Creating Stripes

All that is needed for striped lawns is a lawn mower. The tires and the deck of the mower will bend the grass blades to lay the direction it travels. Traveling in a pattern of back and forth will bend the grass blades back and forth creating the two-toned appearance. A second trip over the lawn, across or diagonal from the original cut in the back and forth pattern will create a second two-toned appearance. In the end, this double cut two-toned appearance gives the effect of the checkerboard or diamond pattern that homeowners long for in their lawns.

Changing the Pattern

The pattern of the mowing needs to be changed each time. Mowing in the same direction each time will encourage the grass blade to permanently lean that direction rather than straight growing. Changing the cut pattern will promote the beneficial upright growth of the grass blades. Having the grass stand upright will give a more dominant striping effect and allow for different striping effects over the course of a mowing season.

Sum it up

To sum it up, striped lawns are easy to obtain. It may not happen exactly as planned on the first attempt, but with enough practice the skill can easily be mastered and make your lawn the envy of the neighborhood.

It is always a good idea to consult with a lawn care professional and ask any questions you may have. Look around, ask friends or family, and research companies on the Better Business Bureau to find a company that you can trust.

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