'M' is for May & mowing
At last summer is just around the corner – so you’ve done your spring feed, scarified and re-sown those bare patches, and now it’s time to relax? Not quite. Thanks to your hard work your grass is really beginning to grow now. So let’s talk about mowing. There’s no great secret to good mowing, but there ARE some important things to remember if you want to avoid your lawn turning yellow in the summer to come.
Service your mower
Winter is the best time to service your mower – so if you didn’t get it done, do it now and make a reminder for next winter. As well as the mechanicals you must make sure the blade is really sharp – and keep it sharp through the months ahead. Nothing does more damage to the grass than being torn and shredded by a blunt blade.
Consider replacing your mower
Eventually even the most faithful mower needs replacing, and May is a great time to do this. But you must first decide what you want from your lawn – this will lead you to the best choice of mower for your garden. The most practical mower for an everyday lawn is a rotary mower – either petrol, electric or even cordless. These come with height adjustments (very important, as I explain below) and a grass collector. Some also have mulching attachments as well, which help return some of the goodness and moisture back to the lawn – a great option, especially when it gets dry and grass growth slows down. Take a look at our lawnmower buying guide for more advice.
If you want stripes you'll need a mower with a roller. Many electric mowers have a roller which will help you create neat stripes in a well-maintained lawn. But for the bowling green look, you’ll need a cylinder mower which cuts the grass more finely and uses a hefty roller to create superb stripes. Just remember that your lawn maintenance program will need to be adjusted to help create this bowling green finish.
Avoid a crew-cut
With the grass really getting going again now, it’s tempting to lower the height of your cut – but don’t. You’ll stress the grass, making it more susceptible to disease and remove too much of the food-storing leaf. Always remember the golden rule; never cut more than one-third of the current length. So if it’s really long now you’ll need to shorten it gradually over several weeks. But try and cut no lower than 1 inch.
Feed 'n' weed
Now that you’re back into regular mowing it’s a good idea to apply a lawn feed and weed product. If you’re using an all-in-one product (which includes moss killer as well) remember that it needs watering in. June can be dry, so if May is as wet as it often is, why not let the rain do the hard work for you? Or if you have fed your lawn and it’s looking good already (think about your next feed) maybe just go out with a spot weed killer.
Remember the edges
It’s a great idea to include edging in your regular mowing routine. Now to get the sharpest, most accurate edge possible you can’t beat a pair of long handled garden shears. However, like most things these days there’s always an easier option – use a powered trimmer/edger. Most of these have an option where the trimmer head can be adjusted so that it can trim the edge of your lawn – magic.
How good your lawn looks depends on many things, but it’s the mowing that really makes it stand out, so do it well. It’s the icing on the cake and while not difficult, it does need some attention to detail. So follow these tips – and enjoy mowing; it’s a wonderful time to be at one with your garden and lawn.