Sharp blades Weekly

Graphic Lawns takes extreme measures to provide each and every customer with sharp blades every week. This is one of the most  important aspects of lawn care  because sharp blades give a clean, accurate cut across the tip of the grass blade. Dull blades beat up the tips of the grass blades.

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A dull set of blades will also leave clumps of grass & stragglers behind such as Dandelion stems. That is the last thing that you or we want. Graphic Lawns is determined to be the service that finishes the job thoroughly and properly. Dull blades will not ever provide that for you. Dull blades will only leave your grass tips destroyed.

You wouldn’t let your hair stylist use a dull, rusted up pair of scissors! Well we feel that any lawn care provider should be held to the same standard when it comes to their blades.

 

DULL – SHARP

We’re proud of our dedicated Lawn Mower Blade Sharpener. It is one of our best investments by far. But most of all, we are pleased by what it can do for you. It gets the blade edge back to its original angle fast & accurately. This saves me $. In return I am able to pass that savings back to you by keeping maintenance costs to a standard.

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Our Bradley is your Bradley

Graphic Lawns on Striping

Why my Lawns are so much more Graphic.

Before I ever began in the Green Industry I noticed the Graphic effect that the lines or cut rows would leave in the sunlight. That light/dark light/dark effect. It really fascinated me, but I didn’t know why or what caused it. I just thought it was super interesting.

However, when I started my own service my curiosity increased. What causes it? Why does it show up so well here, but not there? How do I make it show up better?

Upon searching for answers I find that it’s to do with the bending of the grass blades and the angle & direction that the sunlight hits it from, along with the intensity and accuracy of sunlight angles.

It’s called Lawn Striping.

This told me one thing. That you have to find the Showcase Angles for each & every lawn. It’s not a “one cut direction works for every client kind of thing” Some lawns are nearly impossible to leave Stripes that will be visible from the street because their houses face to the north, they get a dab of morning sun, their house blocks the afternoon sun & a monstrous tree blocks anything left over for a sunset.

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So I began testing new ways to cheat, or perhaps compensate for the lack of sunlight & the inconsistencies of its light angles for the given trouble lawn. Trying new angles & keeping them straight as I possibly could showed a noticeable increase in the graphic effect . I began to look at each individual lawn and where the sun’s positioning was in accordance with it. It became a prediction of sorts to determine how the Stripes at this Lawn were going to appear at noon, or 2:00 pm or at 5:00 in the evening. I learned to figure out the absolute best Diamond Pattern for each lawn with a momentary glance.

Here’s what I learned. You can take this info as a means to better your own stripes as well because the info is honest.

If you walk out of your front door and are facing east, your showcase angles should be running from approximately southeast to northwest, in my opinion. Simply because that’s my favorite. To be honest, in this situation you’re options are almost limitless. Consider yourself lucky.

Now, if you were to walk out of your front door and we’re facing south, your Showcase Angles have plenty of  options too, they could possibly run north to south, southeast to northwest, giving you a great pattern at noonish, or, southwest to northeast which is the best & longest duration of great, visible stripes.

Here’s where it gets tricky. If you walk out of your front door and are facing west, your options are limited. Your showcase angles are best to run from Southwest to northeast. West to east is ok as well but the duration is not as long because you’re waiting for late afternoon – evening sunlight. You have to keep in mind that sometimes your own home blocks the sunlight that you need in order for your stripes to really pop.

Here’s the bad one, when you walk out your front door and are facing north. Morning sunlight isn’t as intense and doesn’t stick around very long. By noon- 3pm or so the sunlight is blocked by your own home, and if your neighbor has a gigantic Oak Tree then late afternoon sunlight is going to be hit or miss. Depending on your neighbors tree I aim to run stripes from either west to east or northwest to southeast which gives a great effect in the early evening. All of these examples are based upon finding the Showcase Angles for stripes to look their best from the street, by your neighbors & passers-by. 

 

I then began altering mowers to increase the graphic effect I was noticing in my Stripes. I tried all sorts of methods. Way too many to write about here. Though I may find it fun to post some of my Striping Kit Fails. Maybe another day. As for the last few years I have progressed into Full Professional Striping Kits for each mower. 

Is your lawn looking a tad boring? Have me put a Checkerboard on it and you may feel differently. We can literally transform your lawn into a Graphic Lawn.

Graphic Lawns typically finds the best two mowing patterns for your lawn in accordance with the direction of the sunlight and your lawns best & longest time of sunlight. That sounds like.. “woah tricky” It’s really not. Usually, with an open landscape lawn, minimal shade, great western sun exposure, it doesn’t matter. But some, you really have to think about. They are the interesting ones to me, it’s a challenge. They make me think. They literally give me something to think about sometimes while I’m mowing the lawn. It’s a small segment of science, a cause & effect that I can manipulate into what I want it to be.

I may just find it so much more fun than the ordinary person mowing a lawn. Lawn Striping is just so much more than that. If you ask me, it’s what separates a mediocre lawn from a graphic lawn. 

 I also look at it this way. The Stripes are going to show anyway, or at least most of the time. Good Stripes might get noticed. Bad one’s unfortunately get noticed right away but excellent Stripes show their beauty at many times of the day. But it has to be done right. We also love to change it up a bit from time to time with some Curvy Stripes, a Half Moon or the incredible Zig Zags. 

Graphic Lawns on Mowing Heights

Myth: Grass Cutting Heights do not matter.

This is False!

The above statement could not be further from the truth. Rather, repeated mowing below the minimum mowing height for your grass species can actually damage or kill your grass.

In fact, mowing too low is one of the most common mistakes people make. It is the grass’ structure that determines how low it can be mowed. Some grass species cannot tolerate low mowing.

Cool Season Grasses: Tall Fescue, Kentucky Bluegrass, Perennial Ryegrass, Fine Fescue all have a minimum of 1.5 inches. However, they shouldn’t be maintained at that level. Standard grass cutting height is 3 inches. I personally maintain my fescue lawn at 3.5 inches all year long. Taller cut grass can survive heat and dry periods better than lower cut heights.

Warm Season Grasses: Warm season grass cutting height varies considerably by species. For example, St. Augustine should be cut at 3 inches or more, while some Bermudagrass species can be cut below 1 inch.

Here in parts of Missouri, we fall into a category called The Transition Zone. Zones 6a & 6b specifically to Graphic Lawns Service area. This means that we can grow both Cool Season Grasses & Warm Season Grasses. Our Fall/Winter gets too cold to maintain Warm Season Grasses year round but in the same sentence our Summers can get too beastly hot and dry to keep Cool Season Grasses very happy without plenty of water & proper cutting heights.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen “what would be” beautiful Fescue lawns literally butchered down to 2″ or lower. Whether or not it’s you, the neighbor kid with a push mower or whoever, this is by far one of the most unhealthy practices for any lawn in the Midwestern USA. Here’s why. A shorter lawn means less leaf blade on the plant. The less leaf blade, the less photosynthesis that can occur which means less shoot and root growth.

It’s exactly why the neighbor that has not cut his/her grass for two and a half weeks seems to have the healthiest & greenest lawn on the block. The roots have been allowed to grow deeper. That is not saying to let your lawn grow to be a foot tall. That is not healthy either. It invites rodents & causes painstakingly difficult mowing.

Graphic Lawns typically cuts at a level of 3.5 inches. Slightly lower or higher. This allows the blades to be longer, allowing more photosynthesis, healthier blades, deeper roots and a thicker appearance. Another strong benefit to giving your grass that extra inch or so is less weeds. A healthy lawn at a healthy height will be less likely to develop weeds in the first place. Weeds need more space to grow then grass. By cutting too short, you, or someone, is basically giving the weeds all the space they could ever need.