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The Gardenlines Guide to Getting the Perfect Lawn
There is nothing finer than admiring your neat and tidy lawn on a warm summer’s evening with a glass of something refreshing. You may think your lawn could never look this good, but by using our helpful guide on how to cut your grass, you could be enjoying a beautiful lawn this summer.
Basic Cutting Tips
The most important thing to remember about cutting your lawn is not to cut too much off in one go. This applies especially in the early spring or in autumn when the garden is more often wet. It may seem a pain but it’s better for your grass if you use a higher cutting height and gradually lower it for each cut until you get the finish you want. As a guide, you should never be cutting more than a third from the top of your grass in one go.
A healthy height for lawns in the UK is usually around 5-6cm (2-2.5 inches). This will ensure the grass has a good deep root system and it will be able to cope with drier periods in the summer. Of course, some gardeners prefer a shorter cut, and this is fine, as long as you don’t scalp the lawn and leave bare patches.
Try to avoid cutting the lawn when it is wet, as this can rip or tear the grass and can cause the underside of the deck to get clogged with grass cuttings which will impair the mower’s performance.
In spring and autumn, aim to cut around once a week. In the warmer summer months mow twice a week, unless it is very dry – then drop back to once a week.
Specialised Cutting Tips
An easy way to get a lush looking lawn is to give it a good feed during the growing season. A good way to top-up your cut is to use the mulching option if your mower has one. The grass cuttings are cut up finely and instead of going into the collector they drop back down onto the lawn. Mulching means no loss of nutrients and extra food for the grass.
Scarifying and Aerating
During the year, the lawn can accumulate debris, moss, thatch and old cuttings that lie on the soil around the blades of grass and this can prevent water and nutrients from reaching the roots. A scarifier uses thin metal tines to scrape the debris from the soil and improves growth.
Scarifying or dethatching removes this old material from the surface of the soil, and it can be surprising how much debris builds up. If you lower the tines of your scarifier you can slightly aerate the lawn at the same time. In fact, many models have both functions built in. Usually this should be done once in autumn and maybe again in late spring after the first feed has been done.
To keep your lawn healthy, it is a good idea to aerate it once a year. Aerating is poking holes in the soil which allows air and moisture to get to the roots more easily. You can do this simply by walking on the grass with studded shoes or you can use a garden fork or an aerator. There are 2 main types of aerator. A plug aerator removes small cores from the soil. This is quite intensive, and is recommended if your lawn is quite damp and mossy as it will improve drainage. A blade or spike aerator makes small cuts in the top of the soil to encourage growth and is probably better for domestic lawns.
As with anything worthwhile you do have to put in a bit of effort to get a great looking lawn, but it will be worth it.