You noticed your riding lawn mower is cutting the turf too low or scalping your yard. Maybe it’s a brand new mower or it has been your lawn care companion for seasons. And you start wondering why your lawn doesn’t look quite right.
Could it be the lawn mower blade height setting or is it something else? Luckily, this guide has all the information you need to know on why your riding lawn mower cuts too low.
First, you need to know that cutting your grass too low can cause serious damage to your lawn. At first, mowing your grass too low may seem like a perfect way to reduce the frequency of mowing. Let’s just admit it, sometimes the yard can be too demanding and all you want to do is increase the number of days between mowing.
However, this can lead to a wide array of issues on your lawn and disrupt the nice-looking aesthetic of your outdoor yard space.
Why Riding Mower Cuts Too Low? – 5 Main Reasons
Mowing too low may be putting a lot of pressure on your lawn. Remember that just like any other plant, grass requires photosynthesis to thrive. Since photosynthesis occurs in the grass blades, when you mow too low, you limit the rate of photosynthesis and the ability of your lawn to store energy.
This in turn leads to a weakened root system and underdeveloped grass. A weak lawn is vulnerable to diseases, weed invasion, and attack by pests.
Now that you already know cutting your grass too low can be disastrous to your lush green turf, you might be wondering why your mower cuts low. You didn’t spend a bunch of dollars on a cozy riding lawn mower only to destroy your turf. Below are some of the reasons why your lawn mower could be cutting low:
1. Mower Blade height Setting
One of the most obvious reasons that your mower cuts low is the height setting of the cutting blades. If you set the “Knives” too low, you can potentially scarp your turf. Scalping is mowing more than one-third of the grass blade at a time.
This violates the oft-repeated one-third rule: you should not cut more than one-third of the grass blade per mow. If the cutting blades are set too low, it could be the reason why your mower cuts too low. You should address the issue by adjusting the blade height.
2. Unleveled Riding Mower deck
If your mower’s deck is not level, it could be what is causing too low grass cuts on your lawn mower. As such, you should always check for equal measurements from one side of the deck to the other.
Besides, you can level your mower’s deck but the leveling process defers from one manufacturer to the other.
3. Low Tire Pressure
If you notice that your lawn mower is cutting too low than usual, then the most obvious reason is that the tire pressure is not correct. Before you mow your mower any further, you must check on the tire pressure. Notably, most lawn mower tires have the correct pressure inscribed on the side walls.
Typically, when the tire pressure on the riding lawn mower is lower than ideal, it is expected that the mower will cut too low.
Therefore, you can start by verifying that the tires have the ideal pressure before trying out any other fix to your problem, you don’t want to waste your precious making other unnecessary deck adjustments to your lawn mower only to find out the problem was the tire pressures.
4. Damaged lawn Mower Deck Shell
If your lawn mower is big and heavy in weight, serious damage can be caused when such a machine accidentally hits a stone, tree, fence post, stump, or any other obstacle. If the impact is strong enough, it can potentially damage the mower’s deck. A damaged lawn mower’s deck can cause your machine to cut the grass too low.
You can call a professional to repair the lawn mower or get the deck shell replaced. For the DIY warriors out there, you can still repair or replace the shell without any service fee involved.
5. Uneven lawn Ground
If you are using a lawn mower with a wide deck like 48 inches to 60 inches on uneven ground, then you will notice that your lawn mower cuts short on the high spots. The mower may not be able to bend with the ditches and hills in your turf and you may end up scalping some sections of your lawn.
The solution to this is not a manual setting on your machine but rather, you’ll have to work on your lawn. For instance, you can try using a mower with a smaller cutting deck to give you more precise maneuverability around the ditches and ups. Besides, you can also use a weighted lawn roller to level out your lawn.
How Low Should My Mower Blade Be?
A lawn mower blade set at the wrong height can damage your healthy-looking turf of green. For instance, when the height is too low, the lawn can start balding and stop thriving. Many lawn owners opt to cut the grass low to spread out the time between mowing intervals.
A “buzz cut” reduces the capability of the grass to retain moisture, leads to browning and balding, and eventually, weeds and pests start to take over.
So, how low should your mower blade be? The answer to this question depends on the type of grass, growth pattern, and season. In short, different varieties of grass require varying mowing heights.
You can invite a professional over to check your lawn and recommend the correct height settings. If you are still not sure, you should stick to the one-third rule of mowing that states you should not cut more than one-third of the grass per time.
Why is Craftsman Riding Mower Deck Too Low?
If you own a craftsman riding mower and notice that you are scalping the lawn or the deck is way too short, there are several reasons which may be causing this.
First, check whether your mower tires are inflated, low pressure can make your Craftsman riding mower cut too low.
Secondly, the front adjustment rod could be bent. Still, you should check for any damages on your deck and repair or replace them.
Why is Husqvarna Mower Deck Too Low?
If you own a Husqvarna lawn mower, try and check the tire wheels first. The most common reason for any lawn mower cutting way too low is the lack of enough pressure in the tires.
Besides, it could also be caused by an unlevelled riding mower deck. Make the necessary adjustments before you can test whether your lawn mower is cutting at the correct height.
How to Adjust Mower Deck Height?
Numerous factors affect the cutting quality of your lawn mower and one of them is an unlevelled deck. To solve this problem, you need to level the mower’s deck by adjusting its deck height. If your mower’s deck is not levelled, the cutting blades will cut the grass too close to the ground thus damaging your lawn. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to adjust your riding mower’s deck height:
- Gather The Necessary Tools
In this process, you will need a tire air pressure gauge, a tire pump, a measuring tape, wrenches, and a pair of working gloves.
- Choose Your Working Ground
To start the whole process, park the machine on a flat surface – this could be a driveway or a garage. You should work on a floor since you can easily find the screws and nuts that fall here as compared to a grass surface.
- Start With The precautionary Measures
You don’t want your mower’s engine to start accidentally when you are still adjusting its height. Remember that you are dealing with the mower’s cutting blades and an accidental startup can be disastrous. Therefore, ensure that you remove the spark plug before starting the procedure.
- Adjust The tire Pressure
The tire pressure in your riding lawn mower directly affects the level of its cutting deck. Before you adjust the deck height, measure the tire’s air pressure using a tire pressure gauge. Consult the mower’s manual for the standard tire pressure and use an air compressor to pump air into each of the wheels up to the standard rating. After ensuring that the tire pressure is at the standard level, you can now proceed to the next step.
- Use The Lift-Link Adjustment To Adjust The Deck Height
The lift link adjustment helps you to lower or raise the deck from the side. In short, there is an adjustable lift link adjustment nut on either side of your mower. Also, each complete turn on this nut raises or lowers the specific deck side by a fraction of an inch.
Remember to measure the initial blade distance from the ground as it is a direct measure of your mower’s deck level. Using the adjustable lift link nut, you can adjust the deck height to the desired level. You can use a tape measure to ensure that the height from the ground to the blade is the same on either side of the mower’s deck.
- Adjust The Mower’s Deck From The Front And The Back
Now, you need to complete the front-to-rear adjustments. Start by aligning the cutting blade in the front to the back direction then measure the length from the blade’s tip to the ground separately from the front and back. Usually, the front of the mower’s deck should be 1/8 inch to ½ inch lower than the deck’s rear.
Once you have successfully made these adjustments, you can now reinstall the spark plug and start the engine, your mower is good to go.
If you realize that the cutting blades of your mower are mowing the grass way too close to the ground, you need to address the issue immediately. Remember that if your mower cuts too low, it can cause a wide range of negative impacts on your lawn.