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Lawn Mowing Guide: Heights, Tips and When to Cut Grass

In the natural world, grass plants will grow tall and produce seed to reproduce which is basically their sole intention of being on the planet, to survive! Nature did not intend them to be cut weekly, so we have to show these plants respect and when we mow our garden, cut the grass in a way that allows them to maintain health and vigour. For a detailed schedule, refer to our seasonal Lawn Care Calendar Guide.

We often cut the lawn on weekends or Bank Holiday's far too short, especially when it's very hot, before we get the BBQ out!

The following tips are for lawn mowing throughout the year:

 

Spring Lawn Mowing Tips and Techniques

During early spring, grass plants put out fleshy, horizontal leaves which catch sunlight and through a process known as “photosynthesis”, they convert this sunlight into energy in the form of starch. This is one element that we cannot artificially give to the plants, so they need to maintain enough leaf area with which to carry out this process, otherwise they will be starved of energy.

As we move into the Spring, we should never cut lower than 25mm. At this height, the plants will still be able to produce energy and in conjunction with the correct nutrition, provide you with healthy plants leading to a nice, luscious, crispy green lawn. As the weather begins to warm up, we should raise the cut height to 30mm which will help provide more leaf-cover to protect the grass plants against UV light and direct heat.

Raising the cut height will also help reduce moisture loss and will help maintain the appearance of the lawn, by simply providing a thicker layer of green to look at; this is like the effect of using 3 or 4 coats of paint, when only one is required!

For further help on lawn care, see additional tips on March, April and late Spring.

 

Summer Lawn Mowing Tips and Techniques

During early Summer, the grass plants will move from vegetative production into reproduction as they try to produce a flower and seed, which we don't see, as we cut the top of on a regular basis. This in effect means that the plants produce fewer horizontal leaves, as they are putting all their assimilates into one stem, which is why we sometimes see less colour in the lawns at this time. Towards the end of Summer, the reducing day-length will trigger the plants into returning to vegetative production, as it is past the time when it should be trying to flower. This is to produce fleshy leaves again, to harness as much sunlight as possible, to store in the root system to survive over winter. For further help on lawn care, see additional tips on caring for your lawn from Spring to Summer.

 

Winter Lawn Mowing Tips and Techniques

At this time, the sunlight is diminishing and so we need to make sure that there is enough leaf cover left on the plants, to harness enough of the reducing light. At this time, we need to be increasing cut height as we move into the Autumn, so that when we put the mower away for the winter, we have a height of 50mm plus. This extra height also means that we have the protection of the thermal layer when the weather is cold to help protect the plants. We should definitely not be reducing the cut height so that we can use the mower to hoover up leaves! Lawn mowers are for mowing grass and leaf blowers are for collecting leaves! Cutting the grass lower at this stage is a good recipe for increasing moss levels.

Where sunlight is restricted by buildings, hedges and trees, for the reasons above, we need to increase the cut height significantly, throughout the whole growing season, to help maintain plant health. For further help on lawn care throughout Winter, see our additional tips.

 

Lawn Mower Blades and Grass Cut Size

Whatever lawn mower you have, one of the most critical things is the sharpness of the blade. If your blade is blunt, you may as well just thrash the grass with a blunt object, as a blunt blade does cause lots of plant stress. Making sure that your mower is in good condition in the Spring can be helped by a winter service which we can easily organize for you. For DIY enthusiasts who wish to service their own mowers, make sure you turn it off before removing excess grass and sharpening the blades.

 

Colin Peters using a scarifying machine to lift turf from a grass surface:

 

Not enough time to mow your own lawn to optimum length? Have a monthly mowing budget in mind? Please contact us, call us on  01920 461 958 or request a quote - we'd be happy to advise you on your options for achieving a greener, lovely-looking lawn, at a price you can afford.

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