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Tuesday, 5 March 2019

The Lawn Care Guide - March

Time to mow


The time has arrived, out with the garden tractor or mower, set the deck to the right height and away you go. That is assuming the ambient soil temperature has the grass growing and needing a haircut. That’s all it should be to begin with.

The first mow needs only to clip the top part of the leaf. Over the next three months you’ll gradually reduce the height of cut because grass needs to be mown a little at a time. The aim is to remove a third of the leaf each time you cut to allow the grass adequate time to recover and build up strength.

Photosynthesis in the leaf is the plant’s way of turning water into food for growth. Take away too much grass at one go and the plant becomes susceptible to disease, yellowing and becoming weak and thin. And we don’t want an unhealthy healthy lawn. If we seem in danger of repeating ourselves it’s only for the good of the lawn.

We’ve talked before about the effect mowing has on the composition of the turf and while some grasses and weeds die back when they are cut very short, others can thrive with close mowing. So it’s a bit of a juggling act because it’s most likely your lawn will be a mixture of both fine and coarse grasses. With close mowing the fine grasses dominate. Cut higher and coarse grass takes over, so you need to find the right balance. Treat the grass well and it will reward you with a fine lawn. You can help it along by top dressing, adding finely blended soil to the lawn’s surface. But first it’s wise to mow then aerate using the aerator attachment on your garden tractor or a walk-behind aerator from the hire shop.

Follow this with top dressing to help build the soil quality and water retention while helping the lawn become more drought resistant and improving root development. When the top dressing is dry rake it and brush it in, filling in undulations to level the lawn.

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