Mowing Your Lawn
14th Jan 2015
The height that you cut your lawn at is a matter of personal preference.
However, it is important to ensure that most grass types are not cut lower than 25mm, as this weakens the turf, allowing more weeds to encroach and also makes the grass turn yellow.
How do I know what height to cut my lawn at?
When you cut your lawn on a regular basis with the same lawn mower, you will identify the correct height for a nice cut. Most domestic lawns in the UK have a mix of fine fescue and ryegrass types. Fine fescues need to be cut regularly, otherwise it will become quite leggy if it is left too long between each cut. However, if rye grass is cut too short and too regularly, it removes all of the leaf.
You can practice cutting your lawn with different height settings until you identify what gives your lawn the best appearance.
Cutting long grass
If the grass has not been cut for a long period of time, you should raise the height of the mower when first cutting, and then reduce the height down by a third each time afterwards, until it returns back to normal cutting height. If you cut too much height at once, instead of gradually reducing the height, you can cause leaf spot disease, making your lawn more yellow than green.
How often should I cut my grass?
You should mow your lawn as often as it requires throughout the year. Grass grows at different rates throughout the year as the weather and temperature changes.
In the spring and summer, you may find that your grass needs cutting on a regular basis (approximately once a week) as these are the growing seasons. However, in the winter, the grass will appear to almost completely stop growing, and therefore it may not need cutting for a number of weeks or months.
Should the grass cuttings be collected?
This is a matter of personal preference. If you use a mulching lawn mower, you should not see much clippings left on the lawn, as the machine will chop the clippings, before forcing them back onto the lawn for a clean appearance.
If you are mowing your lawn correctly, no clippings should be visible at all, as professional mulching mowers ensure that the clippings form a good base for re-using the food that grass plants produce.
It’s important to ensure that large amounts of grass clippings are not left on the lawn as they block sunlight. This will starve the grass underneath of light and moisture, causing it to die. However, with mulching mowers, grass clippings are rich in nutrients, and by returning them to the turf in small amounts, this will create a healthier lawn.
What type of lawn mower is the best?
This is dependant on your lawn’s size, layout and any hills that have to be accounted for.
Cylinder mowers – Are appropriate on large lawns with flat surfaces, but are not appropriate on small lawns with hills and small areas to negotiate and manoeuvre around.
Rotary mowers – Are ideal for smaller lawns as they are more lightweight and manageable to turn. They are also appropriate for any small banks on your lawn, providing you raise the cuttng height of the machine.
Rotary mowers with a rear roller – Are good for most sized lawns as they are usually high speed, yet not too large to negotiate around smaller areas. The main benefit with this type of mower is that the rear-roller stripes left on the lawn, make your lawn look nicer.
To help you select a lawn mower that is most appropriate for your lawn, you should consult the brochures of the leading manufacturers.
Does the size of my lawn matter?
Smaller and tight areas require a smaller and more manageable lawn mower.
Lawn mower maintenance
You should check the condition of your lawn mower every year, and have it maintained appropriately to ensure that your lawn is cut to the highest standard. Failure to service blunt blades, will result in your grass turning yellow after cutting and will also allow lawn diseases to develop more easily.
Keeping the blades sharp on your lawn mower is one of the most important factors to consider at all times.