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When should I cut my grass?

First_cut_of_the_lawnWe have been noticing on our search stats that a lot of the queries relate to the timing of the first grass cut of the season.

I am not sure if the searcher is actually expecting to get a result with a specific date when the lawn comes to life. The answer to the question is - There is no set time or defining moment when you need to get onto your lawn.

No two lawns are the same and no two gardens, even if they are side by side, are the same so it follows that any advice given here may well be appropriate for one lawn owner and not for the next.

To circumnavigate the question slightly, it is probably best to give a little check list of what to look for and how to gauge the timing.

Grass will grow all through the year and that includes the winter. The severity of the winter and the temperature will dictate the rate of growth and it naturally follows that temperatures of below freezing for a prolonged period will determine pretty much zero growth whilst temperatures in January of double digit numbers will see the leaf blade shrug off the winter blues and add a little growth.

You will really have to be the judge and jury. The general advice, and this is still determined and influenced by many factors, is if you decide to set your winter grass length at 25-40mm and the grass grows beyond the limits that you have set, then the grass can be cut.

Avoid cutting in the winter if the surface is either saturated or frozen but after a decent drying day it is safe to run the mower over the lawn.

Never take more than one third of the leaf blade at any one time (good advice that is relevant at any time of the year) and if for any reason the grass gets away a bit then take two or more cuts, reducing the height each time, until you are back to the required length.

Certainly cutting the grass frequently will remove any dangers of shock later in the season. I have been witness to many a distressed lawn in the spring time when the owner has decided to take all 8 inches of growth off in one foul swoop.

The dangers of cutting so much off in one go are several. Firstly, a shocked grass plant will spend a period of convalescence and become insular as it recovers. In this time, moss, weeds and undesirable grass species may infiltrate and start to colonise leading to competition and eventual exclusion of the desired grass.

In turn, you will probably be faced with an expensive over seeding or turfing exercise to get your garden back on the right track.

The old saying, 'a stitch in time, saves nine' is probably a good one so little and often and before it becomes a problem are good rules.

Enjoy your lawn and have a good season.


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