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Barrette's Small Engines Inc. - SmallEngines.ca FAQ's

What could be causing the browning of random areas of the lawn within a few days after mowing?

Although there are some lawn diseases and regional insect infestations that may be causing "brown spots" in an otherwise healthy lawn, these spotty areas of dead or dying grass may also be the result of a combination of ambient temperatures, chemical exposure, heated exhaust gases and varying moisture content within the grass itself while operating power equipment over the lawn.

Below are some helpful tips and information regarding operating power equipment to help prevent and reduce the likely hood of this problem from recurring. If plant disease or insect infestations are suspected, we suggest that a local lawn care professional be contacted for assistance.

1. DO NOT leave power equipment with the engine running parked in a stationary position on the lawn for extended periods of time. Depending on any number of combinations of: barometric pressure, ambient temperature,  the moisture content of the grass,  engine performance tuning and engine exhaust location, a condition may result in heat and exhaust gases from a warm engine rapidly dehydrating and harming the lawn. Always shut the engine completely off when stopping to open gated entrance areas, empty grass collection systems or at other times when the equipment will be stationary over the lawn for more than a few seconds.

2. DO NOT refuel power equipment while the equipment is parked on the lawn. Spilled fuel during fuel transfer may result in chemical grass poisoning. Positioning the equipment over a driveway or other non vegetative land area is a better positioning option when transferring fuel during refueling. If the equipment must be refueled while located over the lawn, use extreme care to prevent fuel spillage during transfer.

3. DO NOT fill fuel tanks to full capacity. Splashing fuel, fuel expansion and equipment with vented fuel caps may leak during normal use. Leaving a small area or air gap for expansion and splash retention helps to minimize this type of leakage from occurring from the filler cap area.

4. DO periodically inspect the engine and if applicable any other oil or grease transmission drive compartments of the equipment for any signs of oil, grease or fuel leaks that may be dripping onto the lawn. Inspect the equipment regularly and have the equipment properly serviced if leaks are suspected or detected.

5. DO keep the engine properly tuned and maintained. A poorly tuned and maintained engine, an engine with overly lean or rich carburetor fuel adjustment settings and/or an engine out of proper timing can all result in excessive chemical gas discharge from the engine exhaust. Have the engine properly serviced at regular intervals to assure that the engine is operating at peak efficiency.

6. DO keep the lawn properly watered. Regular watering during periods between rainfall helps to keep the lawn lush, healthy, and resistant to dehydration. If necessary, and whenever practical, wait until soon after the lawn gets some recent rainfall before mowing*.

High ambient temperatures or periods of extended dry spells may also result in dehydration of the grass. Some grasses are more susceptible to this type of dehydration than others. Low moisture content within the grass can increase the susceptibility of heat and chemical dehydration of grass. Additionally, too frequent or over-mowing between watering can also lead to excessive dehydration of the plants. Chopped grass blade tips expose the internal areas of the grass blades to more rapid moisture loss when compared with rounded and sealed blade tips as the grass grows normally. Cutting and re-cutting the lawn too frequently during high temperatures is not advised for most grass types.

*NOTE:  Mowing immediately after rainfall is not the optimum time to mow. Mowing an extremely wet lawn can result in clumping and packing of the soaked and wet discharged grass clippings and an overall uneven cut resulting from tire trampling of the wet grass. It is usually recommended to wait a day or two after the rains end and until the ground has dried on the surface, with no visible water puddle areas remaining, before mowing. A good rule of thumb is: "If the mower wheels are wet or leaving wet tracks when rolled across the lawn, it's too wet to mow".






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