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lawnmower on grass

A lawnmower's blade should be sharpened after each 10 hours of use, says horticulture specialist Ward Upham.

Keep mower blade sharpened for a healthy lawn, expert says

Dull blade will cause whitish look in home lawns

April 23, 2020

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Like it or not, mowing season has arrived.

And in case homeowners put off sharpening the blade on their lawnmower at the end of last year’s season, it’s probably a good time to get that done, says K-State Research and Extension horticulture specialist Ward Upham.

“Dull blades will give your lawn a whitish cast,” Upham said. “That’s because a dull blade does not cut cleanly, but rather shreds the ends of the leaf blades. The shredded ends then dry out, giving the lawn that whitish look.”

Homeowners can sharpen the blade on their own, or if they don’t know how, the Kansas Healthy Yards program has an online video to help out. Some local hardware or small engine stores may provide this service for a small charge.

“A sharp mower blade is even more important when the turf starts putting up seed heads next month (in May),” Upham said. “The seed head stems are much tougher than the grass blades and more likely to shred.”

He added that under normal conditions, a lawnmower’s blade should be sharpened after every 10 hours of use.

Upham and his colleagues in K-State’s Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources produce a weekly Horticultural Newsletter with tips for keeping yards healthy and beautiful year-round. The newsletter is available to view online; interested persons can also subscribe to have it delivered by email each week.

The April 20 edition of the newsletter marked the debut of a new feature: weekly reminders of timely home and yard chores. This week’s reminders include removing foliage from spring-flowering bulbs, re-potting house plants and keeping newly-planted trees and shrubs watered.

Interested persons can also send their yard-related questions to Upham at wupham@ksu.edu.

At a glance

Under normal conditions, a lawnmower’s blade should be sharpened after every 10 hours of use.


K-State Horticulture Newsletter


Ward Upham

Written by

Pat Melgares


KSRE logo
K‑State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the wellbeing of Kansans.
Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county extension offices, experiment fields, area extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K‑State campus in Manhattan.