Getting it right pays big dividends

Mowing Advice

We simply cannot overstate the importance of good mowing.

One of the reasons the College lawns at Cambridge University look so good is that during the growing season they are mown every two days. Barely any grass is removed with each cut, but each individual grass plant is continuously stimulated and because it cannot compete with its neighbour by growing vertically, it is encouraged to grow horizontally by forming new Side shoots. This leads to a thick and lush surface.

Mowing the grass too short is a common mistake. But is very detrimental to your grass, the leaf is the where the magic happens, where photosynthesis takes place and where chlorophyl is produced. If you mow too short, plant health suffers. Short leaf length translates quickly into poor root depth, apart from which a scalped lawn looks dreadful.

Domestic lawn, mown with sharp blades at a sensible height.
Note the direction of cut is varied.

Key points:

  • During growing season, try to mow it once a week – more often is better.
  • If possible, vary the direction that you mow.
  • Make sure that your mower blades are sharp.
  • Do not leave clippings on the lawn.
  • Do not cut off more than 1/3 of the grass leaf in any one cut.
  • Never cut the leaf shorter than 1″ (2.5cm) and aim for a standard cut height of about 1.5″. In hot / dry periods raise this to 2” – or better still, stop mowing.
  • Remember: It is the length of leaf which matters. If you cut too much off you will be left with many plants showing only unsightly and unhealthy grass stalks, like a stubble field.
  • Mowers, everybody has an opinion but what really matters is sharp blades. The idea is to cut the grass – not tear it. Ride on mowers with brush operated clipping collectors must be used very carefully, they can flail and bruise grass badly.

Cutting height just right

A few mm too short