The days are getting longer and warmer and the sun is shining – which means it must be time to learn how to mow a lawn like a pro.
While many of us may find mowing a lawn to be a chore, there’s no doubt that a gorgeous and luscious-looking green lawn is worth taking pride in.
The lawn will also play a crucial part in your family’s summer enjoyment, including areas to relax in and play and to potentially host parties.
However, it’s important that before you mow your lawn for the first time this year, that you prepare thoroughly beforehand and follow our checklist to do everything in the right order.
The first cut of the year for your lawn
Before starting the first cut of the year for your lawn, the lawn itself is probably looking a little bit neglected because it has lacked sunshine.
This means you really should take the time to clear away any mess including leaves, sticks and rubbish.
You also need to check what might be hiding on the lawn, such as branches and stones because you don’t want debris to damage the mower blade or even the mower itself.
That’s because having a sharp mower blade is an important part of looking after your lawn.
When is the best time to start mowing a lawn?
For those asking, ‘When is the best time to start mowing a lawn?’, you need to appreciate that:
- You should not leave the first cut too late;
- The best time to begin mowing is in April (preferably in the first two weeks);
- After checking there’s no debris on the lawn, you should ensure that your lawnmower is working properly and if it needs any parts that need oiling, then oil them properly.
How much grass should I cut for the first time?
Another crucial question that needs to be asked and answered is: ‘How much grass should I cut for the first time?’
The simple answer is that there is an established and well-known rule, and that is the ‘the one third rule’.
This means that you should not cut more than a third of a grass blade in one go. That’s because if you cut more than this, then you can cause stress to the grass.
Instead, even if your lawn is very high, you should begin at within one-third of its height and then reduce the grass length gradually over the next few weeks before reaching your desired length.
This one-third rule for mowing the lawn is really important because should you cut the grass too short too quickly, then you will be carrying out what’s known as ‘scalping’.
It’s this that will lead to weed infestation and potentially disease.
This may mean investing in quality weed killers to bring an infestation under control – and then to eradicate it without damaging the lawn.
What happens if your grass has grown out of control?
So, having said you should follow the one third rule, what happens if your grass has grown out of control?
Not many of us are tempted to venture out in the cold winter months to mow our lawns but you really should follow the one-third rule and if you need to cut for more than two weeks, then you should do so.
This also means you really should trim your lawn edges whenever you mow the lawn and as part of contouring your garden – this is where a quality strimmer will prove helpful and you may find that a petrol-powered strimmer for those with large lawns will be a sound investment.
Remember: an overgrown edge not only looks unsightly, but it also looks as if you’ve wasted your time in mowing the lawn.
When you should water your lawn
Another crucial aspect when it comes to mowing a lawn like a pro, is knowing when you should water your lawn.
Many people may be surprised to hear that you should never water your lawn immediately after it has been mown.
If this is a habit that you are in, then you need to stop doing it.
Essentially, you should water your lawn whenever it needs moisture and there are good reasons for choosing the correct time. This means:
- You really should choose to water your lawn first thing in the morning so the water can reach the roots before drying out.
- For those who like to water their lawn late in the evening, or even during the night, then this issue of not allowing the water to dry out probably means the grass could develop fungal problems.
- For those who want to water their lawn in the middle of the day, then you may find the water evaporates fairly quickly without reaching the roots and you may find that droplets can burn grass blades because they act as a magnifying glass to the sun’s heat.
Giving your lawn a timely trim
The other issue for giving your lawn a timely trim is important for those who are using grass seeds.
If you have new grass on your lawn that you have grown from seed, you need to appreciate that these grass blades will be weaker than the rest of the lawn and they can be damaged easily if not cut correctly.
You should wait until new grass grown from seeds has grown to at least 3-inches in height before mowing this grass for the first time. By doing so, you are helping to strengthen the grass blades.
Maintaining your lawn
After you have carried out the first cut of the season, you should really commit to maintaining your lawn at least once or even twice a week to maintain the correct length.
By cutting the grass regularly, the warm weather will help encourage your lawn to grow into a luscious and attractive lawn.
Having established what needs to be done, and the order for doing so, you will be ready to answer the question of “how to mow a lawn like a pro”. However, you also need to consider the type of tools required.
The best tools for mowing your lawn
A lot will depend on the size and condition of your lawn, so you’ll need the best tools for mowing your lawn properly.
For most people, an electric lawnmower will meet most needs and it’s a more eco-friendly choice than a petrol-powered lawnmower.
Some may be happy with old-fashioned mowers that you push along the grass and others may have a large lawn that needs a self-propelled mower to carry out the work properly.
How to mow a lawn with a ride-on mower
If you have a really big garden you may need to go a step further. This will then mean knowing how to mow a lawn with a ride-on mower.
A ride-on mower tends to be either rotary or cylinder mowers and will reduce your mowing time significantly.
However, ride-on lawn mowers tend to be a lot more expensive than an electric or petrol-powered versions.
Lawn mowing patterns
If your lawn is large enough, you may be interested in knowing how to introduce lawn mowing patterns.
To get a striped finish for your lawn, you should:
- Begin by mowing around the lawn’s edge;
- For rectangular or square lawns, you should begin on the left side and mow up and down using the straight lawn edge as a guide for your next cut;
- For irregular and circular-shaped lawns, you should line the mower up with a focal point, usually at the widest point of your lawn, and cut a straight line down it. This makes it easier to mow subsequent stripes.
Professional lawn mowing techniques
While the advice given here is good and will help you achieve the desired results quickly, there are some professional lawn mowing techniques that you may need to take on board. They include:
- Mow early: Professionals believe that mowing in the late morning when the morning dew has dried off and it’s cool is the best time for mowing.
- Take time: Do not rush the mowing process because you may miss parts of the lawn.
- Don’t cut short: The best length that will encourage a deep root system is to cut grass to about 8 cm or 3-inches tall.
- Keep your mowing blade sharp.
How to cut grass properly
Along with our tips, and professional advice, there are other ways to learn how to mow a lawn like a pro.
The Royal Horticultural Society says that frequent mowing will lead to a healthy lawn. The organisation advises mowing twice a week and should there be a period of drought, then just once a week will suffice.
In spring and autumn, you should continue mowing once a week and over winter, mowing is not usually necessary.
Also, the RHS says you should never cut frosty or wet grass because this can damage the turf – always wait until the lawn has dried out or defrosted or even postpone your mowing.