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So recently, I’ve been experimenting with growing Oak bonsai trees with acorns from the oak tree at the back of my garden. One problem I noticed was the sheer amount of acorns lying on the grassy verge in my garden. While I could pick them up individually, I wanted to understand if there would be an easier way to remove these. This got me asking the question can I mow over acorns?
You can mow over acorns without causing damage to your lawnmower or lawn. So long as the lawnmower has a guard or side chute. Once broken down by the lawnmower, You can use acorns for mulch.
So is there any prep work required before mowing over acorns? And what are the best lawnmowers to use to mow over acorns? Keep reading to find out more!
Can I mow over acorns?
In March, I had the pleasure of moving into my first property after renting for a few years.
This house then has a lovely backyard and small lawn space. Recently, however, I’ve noticed more and more acorns falling on my lawn from surrounding oak trees.
Now, while I could manually go and pick these up, I need to maintain the lawn pretty frequently, so naturally, speeding this up by mowing them is a realistic option I want to follow.
Now, far from being an expert, I got in touch with my local botanical gardens, spoke with a few lawn experts, and even did a survey of 5 plant paladin readers to get to the bottom of if mowing over acorns is okay.
All to ensure you have the most in-depth post on the topic.
- Mowing over acorns can be undertaken without causing significant damage to your lawnmower in most instances.
- This is because the blade of most lawnmowers will be sharp enough to cut and grind up acorns that are loosely lying on the lawn.
- Mowing over acorns with a lawnmower will work best when the acorns are loose; if the acorns have been laying for a while, you may need to gently dig them up using a fork or trowel to loosen them.
- Aim to mow over the acorns once every two weeks during the fall when acorns fall from oak trees the most.
- For best results, aim to use a petrol/gas-powered lawnmower with a guard or side chute to collect or distribute the acorns.
- You can then use the shredded acorns to add mulch or fertilize your lawn.
- Ensure you check the sharpness of the blades more recently when mowing over acorns, as they can cause the blades to be dull quicker
How to mow over acorns?
So now we know it’s possible to mow over acorns, what exactly do we need to do?
Luckily, mowing over acorns isn’t too dissimilar from moving over a lawn traditionally.
I find then that the following steps work best:
Get your protective gear
If this is your first time mowing over acorns ( as it was mine), then be prepared to complete this might take a few hours.
While acorns typically fall from September to November, you will still be in direct sunlight.
As such, I would recommend either investing in or using the following items.
I’ve linked to the products I liked via amazon below:
- Sun cream – I tend to use facto 50, even in winter)
- Eye goggles – If you are using a side chute, the acorn grit can fly out at some speed; as such, wear these to protect your eyes on the off chance of any accidents.
- Gardening clothes – lawn care can get a little messy so ensure you wear proactive clothing or clothes you don’t mind getting dirty.
- A hat – This will keep the sun out of your head and stop you from getting sunstroke.
- Gloves – If you use a lawnmower with a guard, you will need to pick up the mulch later. Using gloves should prevent you from getting any cuts and make it easier to carry the acorn grit.
Remove any obstructions
Now you are prepared, the next step will be to remove any excess obstructions from the lawn/yard.
You must remove any obstructions (aside from the acorns, of course).
This includes larger branches, bricks, large stones, or any inorganic items that can cause damage to your blades.
Move and pets indoors and ensure you move your kids and or partners indoors for their safety.
I will also remove any outdoor plants resting either in or nearby on the lawn if they are kept in pots.
For example, I keep a few bonsai trees outdoors and try to move them away from the lawn.
Loosen up the acorns
If the acorns have just fallen onto your lawn, you can leave them as they are.
If the acorns are on your lawn for a few months, they might have subsided in the soil.
If this is the case, use either a trowel or fork to dig these up.
This will make it for the lawnmower to cut these up.
For my recommendations on handheld trows or forks, you can see them below:
- Gardening hand fork (link takes you to Amazon)
- Gardening hand trowel (link takes you to Amazon)
Move the acorns from the edge of the lawn
The last preparation step is a simple one.
Move any acorns near the last 3 to 4 inches of your lawn.
This is because we will use a weed whacker/ strimmer to go around the edge of the lawn in the first instance.
If the acorns are too close to the lawn, you can pick them up and move them into place.
Use a weed whacker around the perimeter of the lawn
Now it’s time to start mowing!
Start by going around your lawn’s perimeter with a weed whacker.
Try not to go back on the parts that you have already strimmed.
I usually go over the lawn edge with a weed whacker once, which will be enough time to get the lawn down to size.
Use a blower to move the grass back onto the lawn
Starting by using a weed whacker/strimmer can cause a lot of excess gas to move off your lawn.
Use a leaf blower then to blow this grass back on the lawn.
Do this by going around the edge of the lawn with a blower in the same direction you used the weed whacker.
Set the mowing height on your mower for acorns
Now that the edge of the lawn has been completed, it’s time to move on to the main event.
Adjust your lawnmower by moving its blades to about 3 inches in height.,
I have found that this will give the best clearance level to allow the lawnmower’s blades to cut the acorns and the grass while causing as minor damage as possible to the blades.
At 3 inches, this will also allow you to mow about 1/3rd the height of the grass.
Mow the lawn with acorns
Next up, mow the lawn as you would normally.
Start on the outside perimeter, going over the lawn and acorns in one smooth movement and line.
Once you reach the end of the section of the lawn, turn your lawnmower around.
Mow in the opposite direction with a slight overlap.
A good rule of thumb for overlap is the width of one of your lawnmower’s wheels.
This will ensure you get good coverage of lawn trimming and remove all the acorns in the process.
Repeat this process until the entire lawn and acorns have been mowed over.
Distribute the acorns and grass mulch
If your lawnmower has a chute, your acorns will automatically be distributed into the previous row when you mow your lawn.
If you have a guard, open the guard and sprinkle the grass and acorn grits into your lawn once you have finished lawnmowing.
You may need to use a rake to help distribute this evenly.
This mulch is placed on the lawn for better health of your lawn.
What are the problems with mowing over acorns?
The main problem with using a lawnmower over acorns is that the acorns can cause the blades of your lawnmower to dull. Going over the blades with material other than grass will eventually cause the blades to dull over time.
As such, check your blades after every other use when mowing over acorns to ensure they stay sharp.
When will you need to mow over acorns?
You will need to mow over acorns in September-November or the fall when acorns typically fall from Oak trees the most. The vast majority of acorns will fall between late September and October, so you should take extra care on your lawn then.
What to do with mowed acorns
If you have mowed over acorns, is there anything you can do with the acorn grit?
Thankfully there are!
First, you can use acorn grit as fertilizer for all plants.
Trees like Ficus, Olive, or Apple trees benefit from being kept with organic fertilizer, so you can use acorn grit.
Alternatively, feel free to spread the smaller acorn grit on the lawn you have just mowed.
This will feed the lawn, keeping the lawn healthy.
Acorns tend to keep for a while, so feel free to store the grit and pout it over the lawn during the dryer summer months.
Best lawnmower for getting rid of acorns
While most lawnmowers will work well to remove acorns from your lawn, if you rein the market for a new lawnmower, I would recommend the Murray EQ500X (the link takes you to Amazon).
Not only does this lawnmower have the ability to mulch and distribute acorns both to the front and the side, but it also comes with six cutting positions meaning you will easily cut up acorns of any size.
Once again, you grab it from Amazon here.
Finally, I asked five plant paladin readers if they mow over their acorns – here were the results:
This post was written by Fehed Nicass who has been passionate about bonsai for over 3 years. He currently resides in the UK and works in sales.