Spring has arrived, meaning that it’s time to dust off your lawnmower and gardening tools to prepare for the season ahead.
Garden lawns play an important part in our outdoor summer enjoyment – they host parties, provide a space to play, relax and read, and el fresco dining.
Therefore, it is important to get the first mow of the year just right to set your lawn up for a summer of use. Here are some practical tips for that first cut.
- A pre-cut tidy
After months of bad weather and lack of sunshine, your lawn may look a bit sad. Time to clear any mess including dead sticks, leaves and any rubbish that may have gathered.
Check to see what is hiding in the grass; stones and thick branches may have made their way into the overgrown lawn and the lawnmower blade can be damaged if the lawn mower catches these. Keeping the mower blade sharp is important as a blunt blade can cause damage to the new grass, opening up space for pests and diseases to enter.
- Don’t leave it too late
Although the difference in climate can vary depending on where you live in the country, usually the first two weeks in April is the best time to dig the lawnmower out and give the garden a good trim.
- Use the one third rule
When cutting your lawn for the first time, always follow the one third rule: never cut more than a third of the blade of grass in one go. The reason: cutting more than this can stress the grass.
Gradually reduce the grass length over a number of weeks to reach the desired length. Cutting the grass too short, too quickly, can lead to disease and weed infestation.
- What if your grass is really long?
If your lawn has been a little unkempt throughout the colder months and has grown longer than you would like, still follow the one third rule but take it in stages over a number of weeks. Gradually decrease the cutting height on your lawnmower each time until you reach your preferred grass length.
- Contour your garden
The edges of your lawn are important too when cutting your lawn for the first time. Overgrown edges can look messy and can mean time and effort spent working in the garden has been in vain. Trim the edges straight after mowing.
- Don’t water immediately after mowin
Don’t water your lawn immediately after mowing. There is no specific point in the month to give your lawn a hose down – it should simply be done if and when it needs moisture which is usually after a long period of drought – if you do chose to water then there are a few guidelines on what time it should be done during the day:
• Watering late in the evening or at night can lead to fungal problems as the grass doesn’t dry out as the sun has set.
• The middle of the day is when the sun is at its hottest. This leads to the water evaporating instantly or the droplets acting as a magnifying glass, burning the blades of grass.
• So the best time is first thing in the morning as the air is cool and the water can travel to the roots before drying up.
- Don’t forget about new grass seeds
If you have repaired your lawn in the autumn the new grass that has grown from the seed will be noticeably weaker than the rest of the lawn and can be easily damaged if cut incorrectly. Wait until the grass has grown over three inches in length before mowing for the first time to allow it time to build up strength.
- Make mowing your lawn a habit
Following your first cut of the season, you should consider mowing your lawn once or twice a week to maintain the desired length. This is due to the warm weather encouraging your grass to grow.
- Choose your equipment carefully
It’s important to remember that no two lawns or gardens are the same even if they are side by side. Take into consideration the condition and size of your lawn, and your gardening needs when choosing the best lawn mower for the job.