Remember that mowing is pruning. Proper mowing increases the density of the lawn, which in turn decreases weeds. Your lawn should be kept between 25mm (1”) and 50mm (2”) in length.
Stick to the 1/3 rule — never remove more than 1/3 of the grass blade length at any one time. A healthy lawn can survive an occasional close cut but repeated close mowing produces a brown lawn and has several harmful side effects, including:
- Injury to the crown, where new growth generates and nutrients are stored.
- Reduction of the surface area of the blade, making the blade surface insufficient to produce food through photosynthesis.
- Increased vulnerability to pests and disease.
Also remember to:
- Mow when the grass is dry. The blades will be upright and less likely to clump when cut.
- Avoid mowing in the heat of the day to prevent heat stress on your grass and yourself.
- Keep mower blades sharp and balanced. Ragged cuts made by dull blades increase the chance of disease.
- Change the mowing pattern each time you mow. Grass develops a grain based on your cutting direction, tending to lean towards the direction you mow. Alternating the pattern allows the opportunity for all grass species to grow.
Mowing new grass
Newly-seeded grass needs three to four weeks to get established after germination before you should mow it for the first time. The grass blades are tender and easily damaged and the foot and mower traffic could compact the soil, especially if the soil is moist. Mow when the new grass is 3/4" to 1” inch taller than its recommended regular mowing height.