Proper mowing is an essential part of a beautiful lawn. By following a few basic rules, your lawn will stay thick and healthy all year long.

First off, your lawn mower blades must be sharp in order to cut your grass properly. Dull blades will tear the grass tips resulting in a discolored lawn that is more susceptible to fungus and disease problems. It's best to have a professional mechanic sharpen your mower blades at least two or three times every year.

It's important to never remove more than 1/3 of the grass height with each mowing. Cutting more than that will put undesired stress on the grass plants, especially in hot and dry weather. This means that you may need to mow your lawn every few days when it's growing vigorously.

Also remember to cut your grass tall rather than short. Most species of grass should be maintained between 2.5" and 3.5". By mowing your grass at 3" high, you'll promote a healthier root system and discourage weed infestations.

One final note: your lawn will benefit the most by not bagging the grass clippings. By mulching the grass clippings on the lawn, you'll return vital nutrients back to the soil where it belongs. And don't worry about this contributing to excessive thatch. Thatch is actually a layer of grass roots and stems that grow on top of the soil. Annual core aeration will help to break down any excess thatch in your turf.