Is the boy next door the right person to mow your lawn this summer? He may want to earn some money and he may be a hard worker, but there are lots of safety catches to think about before you hire him. First, while the lawn care industry doesn’t have a minimum age for mowing the lawn, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a child be at least 12 years old, and 16 for a ride-on mower. Second, you’re hiring someone to do a dangerous job on your property – be sure your insurance covers any accidents. To prevent accidents, emphasize that the basic safety rules apply. Unfortunately, adults are poor examples. Often, we don’t follow the rules ourselves. How many of you actually wear safety glasses or goggles when mowing? The answer is probably less that those who wear closed-toe shoes.
Only an adult should touch the lawn mower blades – settings should be at the high level to keep the blades tall. If you do decide to hire a teenager to mow your lawn, or if you enlist the help of a lawn care professional, discuss good mowing techniques. It makes no sense to save yourself time by having someone else mow who has poor technique. It can damage your lawn. First, always cut forward. Pulling the lawn mower backward is not only unsafe but also can damage the turf. A good lawn care professional will be well aware of this. Take the longest continuous stroke possible, whether it’s diagonal or horizontal. Tell the person mowing how you’d like the lawn to look. Finally, mow in a different direction every week – this will help to expose a different part of the leaf blade to sun each week.