The difference between one lawn and another, even when the grass type grown is the same, is in the care it receives. The weather in the area is the same and the soil type may also be the same. However, based on the appearance, if one lawn looks healthier than the other, it all comes down to the attention and expertise involved in the care of the lawn. How you mow, when you mow, the equipment you use to mow, how frequently you mow and the reticulation process all determine how healthy your lawn will be.
7 basic tips for lawn mowing
Avoid mowing your lawn too short
When it comes to mowing, it is important for you leave a height of at least 3inches. This is because the height of the grass always has a bearing on the depth of the roots. Grass that is cut too short will be exposed to external agents which will affect its healthy growth. If the temperature is too high, for example, grass that has been cut too low will lose most of its moisture through evaporation. Cutting the grass too short also gives weeds space to grow and compete for nutrients with the grass. It is also prudent for you to understand other factors which play a role in determining the height you need to mow the grass. For example, did you seed or plant rolls of grass? Seeded grass will take a longer time to grow and may need to be mowed at a taller height for sometime for it to achieve the ideal growth and depth.
Reduce mowing height gradually
Over time and with regular mowing, grass tends to branch out making it fuller. If you have been leaving a substantial height when mowing, it is important to reduce the mowing height regularly. This way the grass will be able to adjust to the lower height gradually without it being shocked by sudden exposure.
Mow using different patterns
It is important that you keep changing the direction you follow when mowing. Using the same mowing pattern means the grass will grow in that direction. Ultimately, the grass will grow leaning over one another resulting in uneven growth as well as an unhealthy lawn. You will also experience difficulty maintaining the recommended height when mowing, despite adjusting the blades to the right height. Changing the mowing pattern every time you mow will result in upright grass whose growth will be easier to observe and maintain.
Cut grass has a high concentration of water and nitrogen. Rather than disposing off the grass after mowing, it is recommended to leave it. The decomposition process is very fast, usually takes a week or two but the benefit on the remaining grass lasts much longer.
Maintain sharp mower blades
When checking your mower before taking it out, it is important to confirm that the blades are sharp. This is important because, blunt blades will not only slow you down, but they will also result in the grass having a rugged cut. This exposes the grass to diseases and increasing its chances of browning and drying up.
Mow when the grass is dry
Wet grass will first of all form clumps between the blades of the mower. This means you will have to keep stopping to remove the clumps which affect the spinning of the blades. Additionally, instead of cutting grass, the mower may instead pull the grass off the ground. Rather than maintaining your lawn, mowing when the grass is wet will lead to destruction.
To maintain a straight line, mow while looking ahead, not down
You may be tempted to observe the moving lawn mower in a bid to maintain a straight line. However, it is easy to deviate while doing this. Instead, it is best to look ahead and focus on something that will serve as a guide on the path you are taking. This will give you a more accurate mowing line.
What happens when you don’t mow your lawn?
Well, the grass will grow tall is the most immediate response, right? You will however discover so many things about the grass in your lawn. When you mow your lawn regularly, it is easy to assume you only have one grass type. However, when you leave the grass to grow, you will notice you have so many grass types as the grass starts flowering and forming seed heads.
You will also notice increased growth of weeds and other invasive plants which you would naturally miss when you keep mowing your lawn. This is because as you halt further growth of grass when you mow, you are doing the same to the weeds. However, when left to grow, the level of growth is often faster than that of grass. They end up depriving grass of nutrients resulting in weaker grass growth against a healthy growth of weeds. Weeds are also resilient and are able to withstand harsh conditions better than grass. This is why they almost always take over the lawn when you stop mowing.
The season and temperatures also play an important role in determining the condition of the grass if it is left to grow. Is it raining? If it is not, are you watering the grass? If not, you will notice a change in the color of grass as it grows. It will start browning and eventually drying. Mowing grass also allows the grass blades to branch out forming a dense growth. Leaving the grass to grow tall in essence means the growth pattern is restricted resulting in a thinner taller growth since the grass is not branching out with alternate leaf growth.
How to change a sand pit into a beautiful growth of grass
When you are thinking of planting grass for a new lawn, you may be torn between seeding or buying rolls of grass. Both have their advantages so it is really up to you to decide if you want to seed the grass and watch your sand pit transform to a fully-grown lawn or if you prefer planting rolls of grass giving rise to an instant lawn. It is important to note that growing grass from seed usually takes some time and the initial stages of growth will be more demanding of your time and effort. This also means it will be a long time before you start mowing compared to the time between planting and mowing when you plant rolls of grass.
The state of the soil will determine how healthy your grass will be. Even when planting rolls of grass, it is important to remember that the nutritive value of the soil and watering patterns will influence how healthy your lawn will be.
When preparing the soil for seeding, it is important to;
- Loosen the first 2-3 inches of soil and remove any debris, such as stones and sticks. Grass needs lose soil for the roots to be able to penetrate easily.
- Ensure you do not have large soil clumps. A few small clumps are okay since they help retain moisture as opposed to very fine soil which drains too fast.
- If you are not certain of the fertility of the soil, organic soil fertilizers can be added to boost the soil fertility.
- It is important to avoid using weed killers at this stage since they will destroy the grass as well.
- If planting in a small area, you can spread the seeds by hand. If, however you are seeding a large area, there are lawn spreaders and mechanical seeders available to make your work easier. It is important to ensure the seeds are not concentrated in one area as this will result in unhealthy competition of nutrients eventually leading to a weak growth.
- Only about ¼ inch of soil cover is necessary after seeding.
- It is important to ensure the soil is moist to boost germination. Only water lightly to ensure the seeds are not washed away. Grass does not need to be saturated with water.
- Since the soil was organically fertilized, there is no need of adding fertilizer until after the second or third mow to boost growth.
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5 types of grass in Australia
This is a fast-growing grass which requires little maintenance for it to achieve a healthy growth. It also repairs pretty fast when it has been damaged. It is however important to note that unlike many grass types, the kikuyu grass needs frequent mowing to keep it under control as it is very invasive.
This grass has undergone changes over the years. It used to be coarse with sharp blades. Today’s buffalo grass is softer and more resilient. Compared to other grass types, buffalo grass is more tolerant of shade. It is also less invasive compared to other grass types. The recommended mowing height for this grass is 3-6 inches.
This is one of the most popular grass found in most lawns in Australia. This is because of the improved color, softness, drought tolerance and its ability to grow just about anywhere. When damaged, this grass repairs quite easily. It is highly intolerant of shading and grows perfectly when fully exposed to sunny conditions.
There are different types of Zoysia grass but the most common one grown in Australia is Empire Zoysia. This grass is highly adaptable to different conditions and is not demanding when it comes to maintenance. Its ability to resist weeds, diseases and pests as well as its shade tolerance properties has made this grass type a favorite for many. It is also an easy to maintain grass type as it does not require much watering, mowing or fertilizing for it to remain healthy.
This grass type does pretty well when grown in shade. It is often blended with other grass types because it fits in irrespective of the grass type it has been blended with. When it goes for a long time without water, it goes dormant but easily re-establishes itself when watering is resumed. It is however important to note that when exposed to extremely harsh conditions, the recovery process is not fast neither is it easy.