Mowing is the most important maintenance operation for any lawn: without it you would not have a lawn. It is also the operation that makes most demands in terms of time and effort. However, the time and efforts required vary with the seasons. In warmer months, regular frequent mowing is required but in winter little or none. This post provides advice for mowing in the spring. Before the first cut in spring, it is important to check the lawn and the mower. Starting with the lawn, there may be debris that should be removed prior to mowing. During the winter, it is likely that twigs and small branches have accumulated. Also, other rubbish may have blown in. It will be best to spend a little time clearing this prior to making the first cut.
Be wary of objects that could damage or foul the mower. This could include twigs and small branches but particularly stones or pebbles. These can become a problem where a path borders the lawn and they get displaced on to the grass. Move them back to where they belong. Having cleared the lawn and checked that the mower is in good order with sharp blades it is time to start cutting the grass. In the UK the timing of the first cut usually falls in March, however, this should be judged by the behaviour of the lawn and not just the time of the year. This year in particular has been much later than usual. If the grass is actively growing, it is time to start mowing. The frequency of cutting should also be judged by rates of growth.
The faster it is growing, the more frequently it will need mowing. In March, you may get away with once every two weeks but in April or May the required frequency is more likely to be weekly. In judging when and how frequently to cut, we would recommend that you never remove more than a third of the grass height in any one cut. It is important that you adjust your mower to keep within this rule in the spring. In doing this, it is likely that the mower will need to be set to cut at a higher height than the normal summer settings. Also, try to stay within this rule when you lower the cutting height.
When you do this and the grass is growing quickly, you may need to increase the frequency of mowing to stay within the rule. Don't worry about cutting off less than a third of the growth. It is unlikely that you will damage your lawn from cutting it too often but highly likely that damage will occur from infrequent severe cutting (like many other things, a little and often is best). When you do lower the cutting height, do it gradually and cut the lawn at least three times before changing the height again. Finally, mowing should not be seen as a chore. It can be good for you as well as the lawn. Regular gentle exercise, like mowing, helps keep you fit and healthy!
For further advice visit our spring lawn care page.