This is our essential reading post on how to mow a lawn – there’s a lot more to cutting the grass than just pushing your lawn mower up and down the lawn you know!
Whether it’s a job you look forward to or put off as long as possible, mowing the grass is one of the important jobs of the summer season in the garden.
Cutting the grass keeps it healthy. Every time you cut your grass, it encourages it to grow more thickly. This makes your lawn look like a luxurious green carpet. Not only that, but cutting the grass regularly helps stop weeds and makes the grass much more robust and resilient, important for times of drought or in the winter. Of course, cutting the grass takes up a lot of time, and if a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing properly, as me Mam used to say (who never cut a blade of grass in her life, so that was easy for her to say). So let’s make sure you are using your time wisely and help you to know how to mow a lawn properly.
Make sure you get your mower serviced every season. It may be cheaper to get it serviced during the winter, as your local lawn mower centre may not be all that busy then. Even if you don’t save any money, you can be sure of getting a better service as the staff will be glad of something to do and not rushed off their feet. Have the engine serviced – change the oil and spark plugs etc if it’s a petrol mower. Most importantly, get the mower blades sharpened. Blunt or chipped blades will damage the grass. A ragged cut is going to damage the grass and give it those yellow coloured dead bits on the ends. Lastly, make sure you clean all the dead grass from the underneath the channel where all the clippings are sent to the collection bucket. Admittedly this won’t help your lawn, but it will extend the life of your mower, and if it’s anything like my car, it seems to run better when it’s clean!
Aim to only cut your grass by about a third every time. If you cut it any more it may affect the health and vigour of the grass. It’s tempting to lop loads off the lawn when it gets long, such as at the start of the season or if you haven’t had chance to cut it very often. As I write this we are having a very wet summer here in Derbyshire so as a result the grass grows at a phenomenal rate, but I can’t cut it because it’s always wet. Nevertheless, avoid hacking it all off in one go when its long. Just be patient and cut it over the course of a week or so and your lawn will be a lot healthier.
You don’t need to cut your grass as often in the spring. It doesn’t grow very fast at this time of year, so you only need to cut it every two weeks until the weather warms up a bit.
It’s important to mow more frequently in the summer so as not to break the ‘one third’ rule. If you cut off more than a third the grass won’t look as neat and may look yellow and unhealthy. You may need to cut more often – twice a week if necessary, though you may get yourself a reputation down the pub as the lawnmower man.
The best height to cut grass to is around 2.5 – 4cm tall. Heavy use areas leave a bit longer to around 4 – 5cm and shady areas even longer than that, around the 7 – 8cm height.
Cut your grass a little longer at the start and end of the season. Also leave the grass a little longer if the weather is very hot. The extra length will help the lawn retain vital moisture during warm spells and keep it looking greener for longer. The extra length will also shade the soil which also helps to keep a more verdant lawn.
Only mow on dry days. Cutting a soaking wet lawn will dig ruts in the soil and smear it. Wet grass clipping will clump and block the mower, and smother the grass beneath as it drops off. You can cut damp grass as long as the soil beneath it is firm and dry.
Let new grass grow to around 4cm before you start to cut it. Once it’s a decent height you can cut it with the rest of the lawn.
Get creative! Have a mower with a roller and have the classic striped lawn. Cut different parts of the lawn to different heights – for instance you could even leave some areas uncut, they are great for wildlife. You could encourage some unusual insects and flowers in these areas.
Don’t just lob all the grass cuttings, mix them in with your compost. Combine them with lots of carbon rich brown mulch and your compost will never go slimy. You could also leave the clippings on the lawn in the summer to help retain moisture.
Leaving overgrown lawn edges will ruin the effect of your beautifully cut grass. Trim the edges to give your garden that well cared for look. Re-cut the edges at least once a year with a semi circular lawn edging tool, and remove any over hang with cutters. Strim or cut the edges of the grass that go up against walls, fences or trees (being careful not to damage the tree) and your lawn will look like a pro’s.
It’s hard to think of a reason not to get a ride on mower. You get to drive a mini tractor round your lawn, what more reason is there? OK yes it will make cutting your grass a lot quicker and easier if you have a big garden, but don’t worry you can always offer to cut your neighbours lawn so you can have more fun time on the trakker!
Hopefully there’s enough information here for you to keep your lawn looking lush and green all year round like a professional. The key is to not be too aggressive with your cutting and make sure that mow the lawn with the health of the grass in mind, not just the look of your garden.
If that all sounds like too much work then why not hire Dronfield Garden Services to look after your lawn for you? We will come at regular intervals or for one off cuts as and when you need us and keep your lawn looking A1 without you having to put in any effort. Our rates are very reasonable and you will be surprised at how much time you free up compared to the small expenditure of hiring a professional lawn mowing service.
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