ANNAWAN, Ill. — When it comes to mowing in a year like this one, it helps to go high and stay sharp.

“With all the dampness, I would probably mow a little higher,” said Andy Anderson.

Anderson started his own lawnmowing business in Annawan when he was just 8 years old. In 2007, he and wife, Denelle, started Anderson Enterprises, a mowing and landscaping business.

That has grown to service, sales and repairs of lawn equipment and agricultural machinery.

Anderson said checking the lawn mower to make sure everything is in good shape before the first run around the yard helps make sure that both lawn and mower stay in good shape.

“Most (original equipment manufacturer) riding mower brands have a service kit, and that is going to give you spark plug, air filter, oil filter and engine oil. First thing is to check all your fluids and change fluids, check the gearbox oil and check for leaks,” he said.

Anderson said that many homeowners choose to sharpen mower blades themselves, but some customers bring blades in for sharpening, a service that Anderson Enterprises offers.

When it comes to cutting, he referred to the rule of thirds.

“There’s a ‘thirds’ rule. You never want to cut more than a third of the grass length off. So, if your grass is three inches high, you would want to cut the top inch off. Sometimes you have to adjust that, but the rule is a third,” he said.

A Cut Above

If grass is starting to look torn off as opposed to a clean cut, that could be due to a couple of factors, one machine-made and one due to nature.

“That can happen if your mower blade gets dull. Also, when the grass seeds out, it can look kind of bad for a couple of days. It cuts really hard at that point, so your blades need to be as sharp as possible or it will just tear,” Anderson said.

Speed also can factor in to how well a lawn looks.

“If it looks like it’s tearing, it could be a speed thing too and you may need to slow down,” Anderson said.

For those mowing with push mowers, one common part that tends to be forgotten or neglected is the air filter.

“Most homeowners forget about the air filter on a push mower. Check the oil and check the air filter,” Anderson said.

On riding mowers, tire pressure and the deck angle can make a big difference in mowing quality.

“Make sure all the tire pressure is equal. Many people forget about that, and it makes a big difference in how it mows. They also need to check the gauge wheels on the deck. Sharpen and balance the blades and make sure the deck is level. It needs to be level from side to side and tilted just a little bit down in the front,” Anderson said.

Throughout the season, keeping mowers cleaned out and free from accumulated grass and dirt helps keep them mowing well.

“Keep the deck clean. If the deck gets plugged with old grass, it won’t mow as nice because of the vacuum,” Anderson said.

When customers bring in mowers that have stopped running or aren’t running like they should, Anderson said it’s usually due to that unknown “something” that can lurk in the tall grass.

“Midway through the season, it’s usually because they hit something or ran over something kind of problems,” he said.

Jeannine Otto can be reached at 815-223-2558, ext. 211, or jotto@agrinews-pubs.com. Follow her on Twitter at: @AgNews_Otto.

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