Your lawn is awakening to another season of growing green and lush. A healthy lawn, though, depends on how you treat it and how you mow it.
Mowing looks deceptively simple, but every time you cut your lawn you’re determining its chances of success or failure. Mow it the right way, and your lawn will respond by growing healthy and thick. Mow it badly and you could end up killing it. Here are our top 10 mowing tips for a healthy lawn:
- Don’t scalp
Cutting your lawn too short (scalping) makes it weak and sparse, and vulnerable to diseases and weed infestation. A scalped lawn also has a weak root system that leaves it susceptible to drought or the scorching sun.
- Keep the blades sharp
Sharp lawnmower blades cut grass cleanly, while blunt blades tear it unevenly. Torn grass is susceptible to infection by diseases, and can also die back after a cut. Sharpen blades at least a couple of times every spring/summer.
- Adjust the mower height
Don’t leave your mower at one height all season. In the height of summer, adjust the mower to let the grass grow longer – this gives the soil more shade, slowing down evaporation. Taller grass also develops longer roots, which makes it better able to withstand hot spells and water shortages. As summer ends, lower the cutting height again.
- Mowing in the shade
Lawns in the shade need longer leaves to aid photosynthesis. There are also a number of shade-specific varieties, should your lawn battle.
- Don’t mow wet grass
Resist the temptation to mow the lawn early on a cool, damp morning. Wet grass can quickly clog and damage your mower, even if it isn’t bad for the actual lawn. Wet soil, though, can lead to ruts in the lawn.
- Alternate the mowing direction
This prevents ruts from forming and the soil from being compacted, which can lead to disease outbreaks and weed growth.
- Don’t mow in the heat of the day
Reduce stress on the lawn by mowing when it is cool, so that it loses less water and can recover quickly.
- Don’t remove the clippings
Grass clippings don’t have to be removed. Not only is it a waste of energy, but it’s also a waste of resources – grass clippings add nutrients back into the lawn, so you don’t need as much fertiliser. If you want your lawn to be neater, throw the clippings on your compost heap.
- Be careful on slopes
Most mowing accidents occur on slopes. Rather use an automated mower or, alternatively, replace your lawn on the slopes with a low-maintenance groundcover.
- Mow a little, often
Cut off a maximum of a third of the length of the grass, but try to keep it less than that to give it the best chance to recover quickly.
Source: Tanya Visser. Image: Pixabay