Should Lawn Mower Blades Overlap?

Blog/ July 8, 2019

If you are reading this, you are probably looking at your lawn and wondering why it does not look as good as you envisioned it to be. Perhaps you notice patches of areas where grass fails to grow, or the presence of weeds, or grass generally looking dry and lifeless.

Whatever it is, you might think failing to water the soil is the problem – but it might turn out to be your mowing technique. Specifically, mistakes you have no idea you are committing. In particular, the blades and their alignment can create all sorts of issues when they fail to align correctly, and that includes the case of overlapping. It can be a frustrating process trying to figure out what to do when you have no idea what the problem is, but you can solve it once you know what overlapping does in the mowing process.

Should the blades overlap?

The answer to this question is not as straightforward as a simple yes or no. this is because the technique that you use to cut the grass has more of an effect on the end result, rather than the blades of the mower.

In the structure of your lawn mower blades, the blades themselves will be aligned in certain angles that allow for the efficient cutting of grass, without you needing to use a lot of effort. For you to achieve the most even cut possible, you need to overlap every row you are dealing with – and there are good techniques you use to achieve that.

The only exception to this is if your blades are timed in their movements, although this is not the case for every lawn mower. The usual structure is that the blades will be at an angle that gives you correct overlap, although this changes as the blades wear down or if your maintenance strategy is poor – making the mower less efficient at cutting the grass correctly.

This makes it important to learn about the possible mistakes you are doing, so that you get the best out of your mower.

What are some of these mistakes?

You cut too much grass

You may not know it, especially if you are a beginner in the mowing world, but there is such as a thing as ‘cutting grass to the correct height’. This is actually a very common mistake many lawn owners do, and they cut the grass too short.

It may sound strange when you hear it, but you actually risk damaging your grass permanently and stunting its growth if you cut it too much.

When you are cutting your grass, always remember that you only need to cut about a third of the grass with the mower, and the overlapping blades should help you to achieve this without you straining too much.

When you leave two-thirds of the grass alone, it is still capable of absorbing the nutrients it requires to continue growing. However, if you cut it too short, the grass will go into shock – and that will give weeds a very nice environment to grow, as well as drastically reducing the ability of the grass to survive in case a drought occurs.

You overlap the mower incorrectly

When you observe the mower blades, you will notice there is a specific area where the wheels begin and the blades end. This is where no grass is cut, and the aim of the mowing process is ensuring you overlap every row so that the cut is as even as possible. The good news is that there is a technique that you use to achieve the best results.

As a general rule, estimate between 7 to 10 centimeters, which is the best distance for a correct overlap – depending on the current length of the grass you are cutting. The more you overlap correctly, the more you ensure correct cutting of the grass, and your lawn will also have a good chance of growing evenly at the same rate and time.

You always cut down and up – all the time

This is also among the most common mistakes. When you think of the mowing process, you might think it is simply moving in straight lines all the time. However, the truth is that it is better to vary the directions you use to cut your grass, and do this each time you are cutting the lawn.

For instance, if you are moving in a vertical direction this time, use a diagonal direction the next time. Changing the mowing direction does two things for your grass:

It prevents the problem of grass leaning in one direction as it grows, and it can remain upright

In the long term, your grass eventually grows stronger and healthier, because it is getting more nutrients and sunlight efficiently

The cutting is uneven

If you cut the grass unevenly, it results in troughs in the surface of the lawn, and you will notice this easily even from above. This is mainly due to maladjustment of the mower blades, or damage to the mower deck.

If you notice that the blades are misaligned or blunt, make sure to sharpen them and align them correctly – the operator manual should provide guidelines for their installation. Alternatively, you should replace them if they suffer damage or begin to rust, as this reduces their cutting efficiency. In addition, make sure to inspect the mower before taking it out to cut the grass, and check the blades to ensure they are in optimal condition.

Final thoughts

There are numerous problems that can arise when the mowing process is incorrect, and that can be due to a myriad of reasons. Your mower blades might be the last reason you think of, but they play a major role in the efficiency of the cutting process – and when they are misaligned, it creates problems with the results you get.

If it is cases of overlap, you need to ensure the blades are correct in their alignment, so that they do not cut too close to the ground and cause damage. You also need to monitor their condition and make sure they are sharp and as efficient as possible before using them on your lawn.