There’s nothing like the sound of a lawn mower starting up in the neighbourhood early in the morning. Well, maybe chainsaws at dawn would come close. We take mowing the lawn to be a simple task, and this is true. Clear the hose, the sprinkler, the kids’ toys, and the dog’s chewed bones, check the petrol, adjust the choke, and pull the cord, away you go. For the lawn care professional, there is a bit more involved.
It’s not just achieving a beautiful looking green carpet of freshly mown grass, but knowing what regular mowing does to the lawn and the overall health of the turf.
If you look at the way in which we mow the lawn, only two factors come into play – the height at which we mow, and the frequency. That’s it. The only changes we can make are within these two parameters.
The Long Leaf Lawn
This is a good time for a bit of technical chat so that we can say mowing the lawn is rocket science! Let’s talk photosynthesis. Direct sunlight provides energy for the lawn to create food from the nutrients in the soil. The longer or broader the lawn leaf, then that directly increases the amount of food the turf can produce. A lawn mowed down low produces less food and so the grass will need more attention to stay healthy. If you keep cutting the lawn to a low height, it could men death!
Lawns that reside in shady or partially shady areas need a longer leaf to be able to operate their photosynthesis and food production. It’s a case of ‘leaf me alone’ when you’re adjusting the mower height. Longer leaf for less sun, smaller leaf for full sun. It’s more mathematics than science.
So, this mowing tip is pretty easy to understand. You can mow short for the lawn in direct sunlight, but lift the mower a notch for the lawn in the shade.
The How Often Algorithm
We love putting off mowing the lawn, especially on weekends when the footy is waiting to be watched. That’s why we mow lawns in the morning. Footy in the afternoon, mow in the morning. Morning mowing avoids going shopping as well! But the science involved suggests frequent mowing is good for the overall health of the lawn.
Common sense tells us that a lawn left too long between mows is a bugger of a job. Too many empties of the catcher, for a start, and an unruly, uncontrolled growth can see little thatches appearing, which, when mowed, look more like a scalping. And that piece will eventually die. How often really depends on how quickly that grass is growing, but once a week or once every 9 – 10 days should be okay.
You can mulch mow if you like, but that’s something that should be done after winter, maybe the middle of spring, to help feed your lawn and get it back to summertime perfect.
Hit the Off Switch
We might be looking at ways to maintain a healthy lawn – fertiliser, mulching, aerating, whatever, but the good old Victa regular cut will do wonders to the appearance of your lawn.