How to Cut Lawns - Best Practice
Are your grass cutting methods doing more harm than good? Do you want a lawn free of moss & bare patches? See our rules for cutting grass to help you avoid the many pitfalls of grass cutting.
You need to remember that grass is a living plant & can respond badly when put under stress by bad grass cutting techniques. This can result in bare patches, yellowing of lawns in drought but most commonly in Ireland, bad grass cutting can lead to the build-up of moss on lawns.
The ⅓ Rule
The first and most important rule regarding grass cutting is the ⅓ rule. Often we are eager to make an impression on our lawn & try to save time by cutting our lawn right down to the butt. A common sight in Spring is that of a freshly cut lawn which has be turned completely yellow by overzealous grass cutting. The result of this hard work will be nothing but moss growth. Moss will take over lawns that are cut too short and then begins the ugly cycle of cutting your grass even lower to try and cut out the moss or applying moss killer. The rule therefore is to only cut and remove ⅓ of the grass height in a single cut.
When to Cut Lawns
Frequent cutting is more suitable to lawns. If you can cut your grass every ten days you will ensure a happy & healthy lawn. The growing season for grass varies every year. Generally your first cut would be in mid-March and the season generally wraps up in the last week of September. But this changes each year.
The ideal time of day for grass cutting would be either 10 – 11am or 4 - 5pm, at this time of day the dew on the grass is gone and you also avoid the heat of the midday sun.
Mulch or Not to Mulch
You should mulch with every third or fourth cut. Mulching is a process of cutting the grass but not collecting the cuttings. To do this right you would need a mulching attachment for your lawnmower. This attachment ensures that the grass is well chopped up into smaller parts allowing the grass to breakdown quicker. If you mulch, you must only do so in very dry conditions and you should only be topping your grass, you should never mulch long grass as this will cause too much stress on your lawnmower. Mulching benefits your lawn by returning nutrients back to the soil as the grass breaks down. If you have a lot of dandelion weeds on your lawn you should avoid mulching until you have controlled these weeds.
Lawn Mower Maintenance
Aside from keeping your lawn mower in top condition for the sake of the mower, you should keep your mower in top condition for the sake of your lawn too. Sharp & powerful blades are important for a clean cut and will avoid the issue of frayed or torn leaf edges. Frayed & torn leaf edges lead to stress in grass plants due to the increase loss of water from these wounds. This leads to poor grass growth in dry conditions.