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Mowing tips

Mowing is probably a marmite kind of a job to you.  You either love it or hate.  Either way, mowing is the single most important task we all carry out on our lawns.  Here are some basic tips and ground rules on mowing your lawn which will help most people keep their domestic lawns in good health all year round.  Of course, following a programme of essential annual lawn treatment works hand in hand with regular cutting to give you the beautiful healthy lawn you want.

The biggest single mistake on the average westcountry lawn.

Cutting grass too short is a mistake we see again and again.  Cut too short too quickly early in the year and our best intentions result in a yellow lawn that has scalped areas early in the new season.  Cutting too short cuts the stem of the grass plant rather than the leaf causing it shock and dieback.  We all tend to think that lawns are incredibly hard wearing and in some ways they are.  But if they are cut too short the grass does not have enough leaf to photosynthesise and remain healthy which means it cannot undertake the normal living processes which plants need to thrive.  The result is that the grasses become weaker and weaker and the lawn becomes more susceptible to weeds, moss, disease and bare patches.

What height should I set my mower?

It depends on a few issues.  If you have very level fine grass lawn you can cut lower but most domestic lawns in the UK are grown using a blend of grass seed which tend to prefer not to be cut too short.  Vary the cutting height depending on the weather and season.  Early in the season cut higher and reduce the cutting height slowly to set your lawn up for the season.  Never suddenly cut much shorter as this will shock the grass and it will take some time to recover. We recommend cutting at 30-40 mm during normal growing conditions when you are cutting regularly.  If it’s dry raise the height to 50mm.

Most mowers have between 5-7 cutting heights – as a general rule of thumb cut most of the time on 3 or 4 (5 height mower) and 4-6 (7 height mower).  In our experience this means most people raising the height of their mowers at least 1 and often 2 or 3 settings.

If you really want a short lawn get there gradually at the beginning of the season.   The shorter the lawn the more important is the associated lawn treatments.  The biggest mistake we see on lawns is people cutting too short.  Most lawns would benefit from raising the cut.

How often should I mow my lawn?

Between March and Mid October, during the growing season, at least once per week and sometimes, if you can, more often.  During the winter grass does typically keep growing and occasional cutting is a good thing when ground conditions allow.

I want to reduce the amount I cut my lawn.  Any ideas?

No doubt you still want it to look great.  You can apply a growth regulator which is a specialist product only available to professionals.  It reduces the growing height and encourages more compact, dense growth. They also encourage growth in the rootzone which helps the lawn become more drought tolerant in the hotter months of the year.

Should I remove the grass clippings?

Our advice is to remove clippings to avoid the build up of thatch.  Some good quality mulching mowers do chop clippings into very small pieces which then go back into the soil as organic matter but in our experience this is dependant on very regular mowing.  Using a mulching mower with the same frequency as a normal mower probably does more damage than good to the health and looks of your lawn. It leads to the build up of unwanted thatch in the lawn.  Continuous mowing with mulching mowers can also encourage moss into your lawn.

Does it matter which direction I mow my lawn?

Very the direction you cut your grass each time as this encourage strong healthy grass plants and reduces ruts and compaction.

Further information

We are always happy to come and visit you and give your lawn a FREE Lawn Health Check and offer some friendly advice.  We love talking about lawns – it’s what we do after all!